Steve Miller (aka The Joker) Reveals the Man Behind the Mask…and All Those Catchy Tunes
It’s easy to be a casual fan of Steve Miller’s music. With so many catchy tunes that have graced the airwaves since the ’70s, I’m sure that everyone knows at least one song from his band. Wednesday night at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Miller delivered not only the hits but also dug deep into his older material, a move that undoubtedly turned many a casual fan into hard-core fans overnight.
Using songs from his 1973 breakthrough album, The Joker, as the centerpiece for the evening, Miller transported the audience back to the band’s early years at the Fillmore in San Francisco. “This is how we used to kick it back in 1973,” Miller said as the band tore into the sweet sounding “Sugar Babe” followed by “Mary Lou.” Miller then noted that the Steve Miller Band holds the record for playing the most shows at the Fillmore, 120, and went on to dedicate “Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma” to one of the many artists he played with there…Carlos Santana. The material from The Joker came off as magical, giving casual fans a glimpse into the blues sound and era that continues to influence Miller’s music. But most impressively, the songs proved that all of Miller’s music, not just the hits, are timeless works of art.
The magic didn’t end there…Miller also treated fans to an acoustic and rearranged version of “Jet Airliner” and “Wild Mountain Honey,” leaving the women behind me swooning as they kept repeating, “Wow! Amazing!”
Then it was time for an extra helping of the hits including an extended version of “Fly Like an Eagle” featuring a blistering keyboard solo by Joseph Wooten and a jazzy guitar solo by Miller, followed by the full band version of “Jet Airliner” and “Rock’n Me.”
As the band finished the night with a somewhat sentimental version of “The Joker,” I realized that the mask had been lifted, that this casual fan had been given a magical look at the real man behind all those catchy tunes that I have been humming for decades. Now, I have a whole new set of songs swimming around my head and even more tunes to discover from a musician whose talent runs deeper than what is heard on the radio.
Were you at the show? What did you think? Share your thoughts with Classic Rock Blog!