The live album No substitutions is a selection of songs that Lukather and Carlton played on their Japanese tour in 1998. The songs on this album were recorded in the Blue Note, Osaka, in November 1998. Though the album contains only five songs, there's more than enough guitar music to enjoy, because especially All blues and Only yesterday are extremely spinned out (resp. over 14 and 12 minutes).
The "Jeff Beck" song The pump was written by Simon Phillips and Tony Hymas and appeared on the 1980 Jeff Beck album There and back, with Simon Phillips on drums, Tony Hymas on keys and Mo Foster on bass. Since a few years The pump is one of Lukather's favourite live Jeff Beck covers.
Apparantly there was a preference for the Carlton songs of the concert tour, because three out of five songs are written by the old master. The pretty extended version of the Hendrix classic Red house and the funny Candyman (Sammy Davis jr.) intermezzo didn't fetch the album. The songs were recorded during one of the tour concerts in Osaka in Japan.
"I went on a tour of Japan with Larry Carlton and got into chord melodies and how he thinks musically. We've been friends for many years but never played a gig together until now (1998) so that was really awarding." (Steve Lukather in Total Guitar, February 2000)
"The solo in Kid Charlemagne (Steely Dan) stands in my mind. I was into Larry when he was in the Crusaders, but I never heard him blow like on Steely Dan's Royal Scam album. Guitar wise, the album changed my whole life. The only other person that moved me that much was Hendrix. Carlton had the rock and roll sound, but he was playing in and out of changes like a bebop player would. My mind was messed! I went, 'yeah, that's what I want to do'. I played around town and got to meet him, and he was always very nice to me." (Steve Lukather in Guitar Player, 1984).
"This also was my first opportunity to perform with Luke. His honesty toward the music is contagious. He deeply feels every note he plays and every note he hears. Consequently, he is unconsciously inspiring every musician on the stage. Luke's respect for music and the musician sets a wonderful example for us, and is a great reminder to Check your ego at the door." (Larry Carlton, booklet No substitutions).