Steely Dan Wrap Beacon Theatre Stand With “Gaucho” Gig

August 13th, 2009 by Jon Dolan Leave a reply »

Photo: Ach/WireImage

Last night Donald Fagan and Walter Becker got dressed, walked down the street and made a little lucre playing the most cynical music ever. The event was the final night of Steely Dan’s long stand at New York’s Beacon Theatre. They’ve been here since July playing the final three records of their early career — 1976’s Royal Scam, 1977’s Aja, and Gaucho, an album so stinky with ’70s jaundice it came out in 1980, the most ’70s year of all time.

Bands usually do these whole-album shows to remind us of their purest moment of Promethean genius. Not so much this time; in the liner notes to the Gaucho reissue Fagan and Becker wrote, “It can truly be said that never before or since in the sorry annals of pop music has so much been expended by so few for so long in the service of so little — or something like that.” Steely Dan fans make Eagles fans look like Sleater-Kinney, but even people who like Gaucho kind of have to admit that it’s pretty slick and callous stuff, an L.A. smooth-rock opus about decadence eating itself at the ocean’s edge. It was so hard to make the band split up for two decades after they finished it — and strangely, or maybe fittingly, it’s also the source of their biggest hit, lech’s lament “Hey Nineteen.”

That, of course, is part of its appeal to certain of its partisans. If you ever showed up late to your divorce hearing because you were fighting off a wicked cokeover after a night out with your receptionist, you are a Gaucho Man. One got the sense surveying the Beacon crowd that no small portion of the night’s tickets had been purchased with TARP money.

How would Becker and Fagan take on a record they loving call “(somewhat) problematic “? Happily, the show was a nice mix of sweetness a...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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