Steely Dan has always been a unit that worked in the larger service of their complex, technically demanding tunes. So the band is on the road again, despite the death of Donald Fagen’s better half Walter Becker in early September. In a statement following Becker’s death, Fagen seemed to justify this decision: “I intend to keep the music we created together alive as long as I can with the Steely Dan band.”
As Stereogum points out, Fagen and his current crack touring band have resurrected a soulful old Becker song for the bittersweet tour: “Book of Liars” from the guitarist and songwriter’s 1994 solo album 11 Tracks of Whack. (Steely Dan also recorded the song on their 1995 comeback live album Alive in America.)
“He used to be standing right here, and it’s weird for me,” Fagen said at a Tuesday show in Buffalo, gesturing across the stage, before launching into a performance of the song. “There’s a tune that Walter used to do, called ‘Book of Liars,’ that he wrote,” Fagen said in a recent interview. “Last few nights, I’ve been doing that. We show some pictures from Walter’s earlier years. I don’t like to be sentimental about these, but the audience really seems to appreciate it. I think it’s a good thing to do.”
Watch below, and read our recent piece about Steely Dan’s Aja here.