Saturday, July 20, 2013

Steve Miller Band at Meijer Gardens - 7/18/13

Another incredibly hot and muggy evening but we were back, this time with umbrellas to block out the sun while waiting. Highly recommended.

Tonight there was an opening act, but it was a quiet duo and most of the audience did not pay attention. We would have expected a more lively act to come on before the Steve Miller Band. But at 7:45, there they were, starting out with "Jungle Love" and moving through their classic hits while including some lesser known titles such as "Mary Lou" and "Sugar Babe." 
Miller explained early on that when the band was discussing this tour, they wondered how they could make it different. Someone suggested playing music from "The Joker," since this year was its 40th anniversary. Miller quipped that he didn't know those songs any more.  He obviously relearned them and the concert was fantastic.
Seeing that the band formed in 1967, we weren't sure what to expect and hoped it wouldn't be a Beach Boys experience, and it wasn't. The man can still sing and play, and his band consists of top-notch professionals.
Miller sang more than he talked but had a fair amount of humor and fun stories interspersed throughout the concert. At one point while switching positions and guitars, Miller hit his head on his microphone and gave out a Homer Simpson "Doh!" 

He talked about the pedal steel guitar that was rolled out and how expensive and intricate it was. Miller wanted to learn how to play it for this tour from a master, Jeff something. When the guitar arrived and was assembled, he decided that he'd ask Jeff to come along on tour instead so Miller wouldn't have to learn it. It was a funny moment. Jeff looked straight out of the 60s with his suit and narrow tie, but he could play. He later showed his talent again by performing beautifully on a dobro.
The crowd was enthusiastic and at times annoying, standing while all others behind them were sitting but on the whole it was a good balance of concert standing and sitting :) Security was constantly checking people that were holding up their phones too long to be sure it was photos being taken and not video. All in all, it was a fun crowd.
Miller was born in 1943 and the band was formed in 1967. So kudos to him and his band for still being able to put on a good show. There was nothing phoned in about this performance.
So we heard "Abracadabra," "Fly Like an Eagle" and many more hits, and then somewhat abruptly just before 9:30, the band said good night and walked off the stage. Those anxious about parking lot exiting or just naive about concerts picked up their chairs and headed out. We knew it couldn't be the end because we hadn't heard "Space Cowboy" or "The Joker."  Sure enough, they were back and we heard in this order: "Swingtown," "Living in the USA," "Space Cowboy," and the iconic "The Joker." Now they were done. What an encore it was.

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