The Royal Scam: A preview, I hope

I’m headed off to visit my daughter in New York and see Steely Dan play their 1976 album “The Royal Scam” live in concert at the Beacon Theater tomorrow night. “The Royal Scam” is a characteristically cynical album that kicks off with “Kid Charlemagne” and “The Caves of Altamira,” one of the favorite Steely Dan songs of my attorney friend Bill Mohrman. I’m partial to “Don’t Take Me Alive” (video below).
Steely Dan is supposed to have settled in for eight shows at the Beacon featuring the playing of one or another of three old Steely Dan albums in their entirety. At last night’s show they were to play “Gaucho”. Patrick Healy reports, however, that last night’s show was postponed due to Donald Fagen’s illness. I hope Fagen will be feeling better tomorrow night.

Steely Dan was mostly an in-studio creation of perfectionists Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. In their heyday during the 1970’s they reputedly hated touring because they couldn’t achieve the desired sound. In an amusing interview with the Boston Globe, however, they explained: “We didn’t like to play live for $3,500 a night, but we love to play live for $400,000 a night.” I find their cynicism an appropriate antidote to the Royal Scam, Obama-style.


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