Steely Dan

Donald Fagen's the Nightfly Live

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Donald Fagen's the Nightfly Live Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

A companion album to Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live, Donald Fagen's The Nightfly Live captures a 2019 performance of the 1982 album by Steely Dan (or the Steely Dan Band, as Fagen chooses to call them in the years following Walter Becker's 2017 death). Original producer Gary Katz is on board to capture all the sonic intricacies of this concert, helping the live album to sound remarkably similar to its studio predecessor. There are differences, to be sure: the digital punch of the 1982 record has been warmed, the beats swing a bit more, Fagen's voice is thin and wispy, the backup singers take the lead on "Maxine," and there's a bit more emphasis on R&B rhythms -- all elements that make this feel like a concert despite the precision of the production and performances. It's enough to keep Donald Fagen's The Nightfly Live fleet on its feet, which is enough to keep this record fun.

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