Forum Posts

Dan Belcher
Sep 05, 2021
In Everything Else
I have spent the last few months working on a real labor of love project. There are quite a few professionally shot videos of Steely Dan in concert floating around the Internet and YouTube, but the quality is all over the place since they're mainly just hastily made copies of the house video feed. I have tried to find as many of these recordings as I can, and clean them up to look and sound as good as possible. The video on all of these has been upscaled to 1080p using Topaz Video Enhance AI (easy to use, but took 12-24 hours to render each video!). I also did some brightness and color correction. The audio was very labor intensive... I did some noise reduction, heavy EQ adjusting, multiband compression, and stereo widening to improve the sound, and I used Izotope RX 7's Music Rebalance tool to split the audio into separate tracks for bass/drums/vox/other sounds so I could process those elements individually and blend it back into the mix. CONCERTS: 1993-09-12 Mountain View, CA at the Shoreline Amphitheatre with special guest Boz Scaggs A great snapshot of the early reunion days. There's MP3 style compression on the audio in the source I have, so I couldn't fix that, but otherwise it sounds fantastic. Boz Scaggs plays guitar on Black Friday. 1993-09-16 Nashville, TN at the Starwood Amphitheatre - VERSION 2 I had originally remastered this concert a few months ago, and it absolutely took off in popularity on YouTube more than any of my other videos except for Storytellers, and this was frustrating because the video quality was truly terrible since it was from a VHS tape of God knows what lineage. However, I recently found a better copy of this concert! The video is infinitely better, and the audio is also a little better than before, so I have remastered that one as well. 1996-07-21 Manassas, VA at Nissan Pavilion My friends, this is a good one. There are some songs in this set list that don't show up in concert often like Any Major Dude Will Tell You and the reworked Rikki Don't Lose That Number. More importantly, this has the unreleased Wet Side Story, and the fiery early version of Jack of Speed with Walter on vocals. 2000-01-28 Steely Dan's Plush TV Jazz Rock Party - Raw footage from 1st night of taping When they filmed the PBS special/live DVD, they recorded it over two nights. Here is the footage from the entire first night's concert. Some of these songs made the final product, some they used the performance from the other night, and some of the songs didn't even make the cut to the final product at all! 2000-06-25 Detroit/Clarkston, MI at Pine Knob Music Theatre Some real magic here! Walter takes vocals for Daddy Don't Live and Monkey in Your Soul, and I am a big fan of how those two sounded in concert. The set list is filled with other cool stuff, like The Boston Rag, Night by Night, and West of Hollywood. Also, there's a brief power outage issue during Josie and they have to restart the song, but I added a little Easter egg to the video there. 2003-07-23 Costa Mesa, CA at Pacific Amphitheatre with special guest Dean Parks This was the 2003 tour opener, yet the band already sounds in fine form. The set list is a bit different than most shows the rest of that tour, including The Last Mall, Do It Again, and Reelin' in the Years. Dean Parks appears at the end to play guitar on FM. Great show! 2003-08-11 Detroit/Clarkston, MI at Pine Knob Music Theatre One of my personal favorites. It's a combo of a great variety of songs plus the band hitting on all cylinders, and the quality of the recording is pretty solid. Highly recommended. 2003-08-23 Camden, NJ at Tweeter Center This show has the same set list as the Clarkston show from a couple weeks before it, and the performance is great. The audio quality isn't quite as good here, as I had to splice it together from multiple incomplete sources. 2006-08-12 Charlotte, NC at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre with special guest Michael McDonald Here is a really good quality recording of a great concert. Unlike almost all the other audio I've been working from, this one was in stereo! The addition of Michael McDonald to several songs makes for a nice change of pace too. 2006-09-04 St. Louis, MO at UMB Bank Pavilion with special guest Michael McDonald The 2006 tour closer, which is neat since they celebrate the behind the scenes guys before the encore. A couple of minor set list changes here compared to the Charlotte show, including Chain Lightning. For the video, good news is that it's widescreen! (Even if not quite as good quality as the video from the Charlotte show). Despite the source audio being mono, this one sounds really nice. 2007-07-25 Bonn, Germany at Museumsplatz Beautiful video quality here for a great show! I love Walter's solo on Bad Sneakers in this concert, and during his Hey Nineteen rap you get to hear him talk about "pitching woo in earnest" in a beautiful forest, "which parenthetically happens to be an enchanted forest." 2008-07-13 Cincinnati, OH at National City Pavilion IMPORTANT! 1) I actually attended this concert, so it's really neat to have a recording of it anyway, and 2) this was perhaps the best concert I've ever attended. It was one of those nights where everybody in the band was locked in tight and taking it to the next level. And the set list! The Fez, Everything You Did, Parker's Band, an incredible fucking version of Glamour Profession, and Walter singing Gaucho!! Oh, and bonus points for Walter's Hey Nineteen rap. Must watch! 2011-07-08 Los Angeles, CA at the Greek Theatre - "Aja Night" You Got The Bear!!! How cool is that?? And just to sweeten the deal even further, Your Gold Teeth and Everything Must Go. Walter avoided "the usual cornball rap" since it's Hollywood where things are "weird," and boy does it make for a fun one. (Removed from YouTube, let me know if you want a copy) 2011-09-17 New York, NY at the Beacon Theatre - "Rarities Night" I have finally remastered the Rarities Night concert! I was able to find video for about half of the songs, and for the other songs I just did a slideshow. It's pieced together from audience recordings of varying quality, but other than a couple of the last songs it actually sounds very nice. 2016-06-18 Hollywood, CA at the Hollywood Bowl, featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra A unique concert, as it's the only time Steely Dan has performed with an orchestra. I had two audio sources to work with thankfully, since noise was a serious problem on both recordings, and even after doing a lot of very careful noise reduction, I was only able to retain the treble and presence of the instruments by combining the two audio sources. I left in some noise because any more reduction sucked all the feeling out of it. This video is a mix of some different video clips I found filmed from the audience, along with some slideshow stuff to fill in the gaps. SPECIALS: Steely Dan's Plush TV Jazz Rock Party - DVD release Here is the live DVD with the video AI upscaled to 1080p so it looks stunning, and I boosted the bass ever so slightly. VH1 Storytellers While there is some great live music in this special, the highlight is hearing Walter and Donald answer the audience questions, because regardless of how simple or silly the questions are, the answers are always entertaining. I absolutely cracked up at the useless oversized map part. AUDIO ONLY CONCERTS: 1994-09-02 Dallas, TX at the Starplex Amphitheatre Excellent soundboard recording, with more reverb than most Steely Dan soundboard concert recordings for a unique vibe. Down in the Bottom and Hard Up Case both are exceptional here! 1994-09-17 Irvine, CA at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre Stunning sound quality on this soundboard recording, a little more room sound and reverb than Alive in America but just as good in its own way, and Walter performs both Down in the Bottom and Hard Up Case! 1996-08-17 George, WA at the Gorge Amphitheatre The last American stop on the Art Crimes tour. Great soundboard audio, and it gives us a killer version of Jack of Speed with Walter on vocals, My Waterloo and the unreleased Cash Only Island. 2000-09-10 London, England at the Hammersmith Apollo I was surprised how good this soundboard recording ended up sounding after I did some work on it, it was technically in stereo but sounded almost mono, and I was able to really liven it up and make it sound much more full and rich. 2003-10-02 Los Angeles, CA at the Universal Amphitheatre Best audio quality of any recording from the 2003 tour. John Beasley stopped by for a guest appearance on FM, and speaking of keyboard players I think Ted Baker was in fine form throughout this whole show. 2007-07-14 Rotterdam, Netherlands at Ahoy from the North Sea Jazz Festival A beautiful soundboard recording, even if it's short set list. 2009-07-22 Boston, MA "Aja and The Royal Scam Night" at the Wang Theatre This one is pretty cool as they played both the Aja AND Royal Scam albums back to back. They also played The Boston Rag and a cover of Dirty Water to salute the Boston crowd. Phenomenal sound quality! 2009-09-03 Chicago, IL "Royal Scam Night" at the Chicago Theatre with special guest Larry Carlton I was inspired to go ahead and remaster this one after listening to a wonderful interview Inside Musicast did with Larry where he mentioned this run of shows -- he agreed to appear, but then realized he hadn't played most of these songs in decades and had to go re-learn them! Fantastic interview from a great podcast, go check it out. In the meantime, you ABSOLUTELY must listen to this one. The sound quality is almost as good as the officially released live albums, and how cool is it to get to listen to Larry Carlton play with them for an entire show? BONUS: The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue 2010-09-29 Los Angeles, CA While this is not a Steely Dan video, and Walter does not appear at all, this fun show is still worth a watch. Stunningly good audio quality too. (Removed from YouTube, let me know if you want a copy) Donald Fagen 2006-03-18 Chicago, IL with special guest Howard Levy Another video sadly without Walter, but worth sharing with people who love Steely Dan. And I wanted to share this one in particular because it's a show that I taped myself, and I have yet to find any other recordings of, so it's nice to get this one into circulation. The quality is... not great. I did my best to clean it up, but my recording equipment at the time was limited by my being a broke college student. That also meant I didn't have the greatest seats either! I still did my best to clean this recording up and make it sound better, and since it's audio only I included a slideshow too. Donald Fagen 2006-03-07 New York, NY with special guest Martha Wainwright Another Donald solo show, this one with the infamous surprise Martha Wainwright appearance halfway through the night grinding the momentum to a halt according to a good chunk of the crowd. Fantastic soundboard audio for this one to go with an audience member's camerawork. Donald Fagen 2006-03-13 Toronto, Ontario, Canada at Massey Hall Pristine sound quality and a neat setlist, this one includes my favorite live version of the DF+WB song Snowbound.
Remastering live Steely Dan videos content media
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Dan Belcher
Dec 24, 2020
In Everything Else
I wanted to take a moment and wish this wonderful community a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I know this year's Christmas will be a bit, um, unique, but I still wish the best for everyone. ❤️
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Dan Belcher
Feb 22, 2020
In Everything Else
Recently I posted the chords for Downtown Canon, and decided to record a cover of it, featuring me on Rhodes, bass, and vocals. Of course it's not as good as Walter's original (I mean, what is??), but I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed playing it. What a strikingly beautiful and haunting song! (I wanted to post this Thursday on Walter's birthday, but didn't have time to finish it up until now. Happy belated birthday!)
My cover version of Downtown Canon content media
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Dan Belcher
Feb 02, 2020
In Fake Book
Downtown Canon is one of my absolute favorite songs that Walter recorded. The lyrics really transport you to an emotional place even if you've never been in the narrator's shoes. The chords are complex in a way that really helps create a depth of feeling; they're not outright happy or outright sad, so the lyrics change how the same chords hit you as the song progresses. Walter's bouncy bass line with its muted thumping tone gives it an energy that is somewhat unsettling compared to the rest of the music. The bass keeps you on your toes and makes you feel a bit conflicted -- it's optimistic and weary at the same time. Going back to the lyrics, "I'm leaving with all I need, but less than I deserve" really showcases that feeling. Also, fun fact: the song on the album is actually pitched slightly sharp, about 13 cents, which catches your ear as well. I spent some time really breaking this song down trying to figure out how to make it translate to playing it on a single instrument rather than having a full band of instruments add the color of the chords. My friend Chris figured out some of the chords, but it didn't sound quite right. I sat down at the piano and really broke it down chord by chord, looping each chord and playing with chord voicings to get the right approximation of what the song was trying to say. Once I finished, I realized that it was very similar to what my friend had come up with, but one different note in a chord here or there made a world of difference in how it felt. That really shows how meticulously crafted songs like this are. I have attached a sheet just listing chord names, and I have also attached sheet music... 1) On the chord sheet, note that the chord names in the intro are not really accurate to the arpeggio pattern being played -- I decided it would be more confusing to try and list those chord names since it overall is just following the pattern of the second half of the chorus. The sheet music shows the individual notes to play. 2) The sheet music is not laid out in the most accurate way, it's just a guide. I used MuseScore to take a MIDI file I recorded of me playing the chords to generate the sheet music, and then I added some info to it. The measures, rests, etc. may not be accurate at all, so stick to just the notes to see how each chord is played, and you should be able to piece it together with the record. 3) The chords I listed are just simple block chords. Use them as starting points only! If you listen to what the Rhodes does in the recording, you'll see how other notes get thrown in for color, the voicings of the chords change as the song progresses, etc. It's jazzy music, don't be a stick in the mud, have fun with it! EDIT -- I also posted a video of me playing this song which you might enjoy, but even if not, it also might be helpful in learning, so I figured I should link it here as well. https://www.walterbeckermedia.com/forum/everything-else/my-cover-version-of-downtown-canon
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Dan Belcher

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