Music News & Reviews

Steely Dan plans tour following co-founder’s death, plus your early-bird look at outdoor summer concerts

Donald Fagen, the co-founder of Steely Dan, performs at Walnut Creek Aug. 6, 2015. He will tour this summer – Steely Dan’s first since co-founder Walter Becker’s death. Steely Dan will co-headline with the Doobie Brothers, at Raleigh’s Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek on May 11.
Donald Fagen, the co-founder of Steely Dan, performs at Walnut Creek Aug. 6, 2015. He will tour this summer – Steely Dan’s first since co-founder Walter Becker’s death. Steely Dan will co-headline with the Doobie Brothers, at Raleigh’s Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek on May 11. ssharpe@newsobserver.com

Steely Dan’s upcoming tour – its first since co-founder Walter Becker’s death – will open with two shows in North Carolina in May, a co-headlining tour with the Doobie Brothers.

The band, still led by Becker’s co-founder Donald Fagen, plays Raleigh’s Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek on May 11.

That follows the opening night of “The Summer of Living Dangerously” tour May 10 at Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion.

Tickets go on sale Jan. 20 at livenation.com.

Becker, Steely Dan’s guitarist and co-leader, died Sept. 3 at age 67 from esophageal cancer. Becker had missed two Steely Dan shows last summer while “recovering from a procedure,” according to Fagen.

In a December interview with Sirius XM, Fagen talked about the last time he saw Becker in August.

“He was very weak but he was still very funny,” Fagen said. “I’m really glad I had those hours.”

Fagen’s voice has been Steely Dan’s most distinctive signature for most of its existence, with Becker as co-writer and collaborator on nine albums of sonically smooth but lyrically thorny fuzak. While the group’s artistic peak came in the 1970s, Steely Dan won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for 2000’s “Two Against Nature.” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Since Becker’s death, Fagen has been in litigation with his estate over the band’s name. Fagen told Sirius he would “prefer to call it Donald Fagen and the Steely Dan Band or something like that.” But this tour is as Steely Dan.

Niall Horan
Singer Niall Horan performs at Z100’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, in New York. Evan Agostini Invision/AP

With Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers added to Walnut Creek’s calendar, the amphitheater’s early 2018 schedule is largely rock-leaning. Though Charlie Puth (with “Pitch Perfect”’s Hailee Steinfeld) and Niall Horan (of One Direction) add a heavy dose of pop.

But it’s still very early in the concert announcement season, so more will be added in the coming months.

The schedule so far:

▪ May 11 – Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers

▪ July 3 – Foreigner, Whitesnake, Jason Bonhan’s Led Zeppelin Evening

▪ July 13 – Tedeschi Trucks Band, Drive-By Truckers, Marcus King Band

▪ July 24 – Weezer, The Pixies

▪ July 28 – Charlie Puth, Hailee Steinfeld

▪ Sept. 17 – Niall Horan

The schedule at downtown Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater is a bit more wide-ranging so far, with a lineup featuring the electronic duo Odesza on May 9, R&B singer Khalid on June 7 and pop band Barenaked Ladies on July 4.

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi

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