Steely Dan

Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live

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Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Billed as the first Steely Dan live album in more than a quarter-century, Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live also bears the distinction of being the first Steely Dan album released since the death of Walter Becker in 2017. Donald Fagen decided to carry on with Steely Dan after the passing of his partner -- he often called his new group "The Steely Dan Band," which was enough to draw a distinction between the past and the present -- and Northeast Corridor documents that new phase, gathering 12 songs from the group's East Coast tour of 2018. The polish and punch of latter-day Dan remain, but things are indeed different. Becker's tart presence is missed, Fagen's voice is wispy, and the smooth professionalism does indeed seem as if it was designed to feel at home at venues like the Mohegan Sun casino. Underneath that gloss, there is indeed a sense of communal joy: Fagen and the Steely Dan Band feed off the energy of the audience, and the result is a slick good time.

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