Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Steve Miller Band focuses on the hits

  • Print
The Steve Miller Band performs at the MTS Centre Friday evening.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The Steve Miller Band performs at the MTS Centre Friday evening. Photo Store

The Steve Miller Band doesn't exactly have a small catalogue to pull from. The blues-rock titans' discography spans over four decades and includes 18 studio albums (including a Miller solo effort), three live albums, seven greatest-hits packages and 30 singles.

And SMB is still making music; after a 17-year recording hiatus, the band released 2010's Bingo!, which was immediately followed up with 2011's Let Your Hair Down just 10 months later.

Even so, Miller, 70, knows his bread and butter. For Friday night's show at the MTS Centre, the Milwaukee-born guitar-slinger hung close to the hits from his mid-'70s heyday, treating 5,500 fans to the songs that have become staples of classic rock radio. (There's a reason SMB's Greatest Hits: 1974-1978 package is its biggest-selling album in North America.)

Taking the spartan stage promptly at 8:45 p.m., the Steve Miller Band kicked things off with Jungle Love, off 1977's Book of Dreams before heading right on into Swingtown -- which got those on the floor on their feet.

The crowd didn't have to wait long for Take The Money and Run -- the feel-good summertime pop hit from 1976's Fly Like an Eagle -- which appeared three songs in and featured a blazing solo courtesy of keyboardist Joseph "Hands of Soul" Wooten. Living in the U.S.A. followed, bringing with it the night's first scorching guitar solo.

Indeed, there was no shortage of guitar heroics on display, and the Steve Miller Band is comfortable letting its estimable musicianship do the talking. There was no arena-rock bombast; the show felt more like a loose, blues-bar jam. During the sexy, slinky The Stake, the band looked as if it was having the time of its life.

Soul legend Sonny Charles (ex-Checkmates), who joined the Steve Miller Band in 2008, stole the show when he took over the mike for Ooh Poo Pah Doo and Further Up on the Road, eliciting the biggest crowd response of the night. In addition to a huge, arena-filling voice, the guy's got some sweet dance moves, too.

Mid-set saw SMB delve into 1973's landmark The Joker, with the hat trick of Mary Lou, Sugar Babe and a funked-out take on single Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma.

"This is the campfire portion of the show," Miller said after Dance, Dance, Dance before taking a seat and serenading the room with a short solo-acoustic mini-set that included Wild Mountain Honey, Gangster of Love, True Fine Love and The Lovin' Cup. It was the jewel of the show, proving Miller's voice has stood the test of time.

Miller was rejoined by his band -- and, regrettably, a giant version of the terrifying mask from The Joker album cover -- for the title track. The mask's lips moved like the badly dubbed cartoon character from your nightmares during the chorus and was awkwardly wheeled out when the song was over. It was kind of a WTF moment that distracted from what was one of the night's biggest songs.

SMB saved the best for last, though, jamming out Rock'n Me -- which had everyone in the house singing and clapping along -- and the riff-rocking Jet Airliner. The hour-and-45-minute set closed, of course, with an extended, psychedelic Fly Like an Eagle.

The vibe of the room was often that of a polite, sit-down show, which brought the overall energy in the room down a bit. Still, it was refreshing to be at a concert -- and this was a concert in every sense of the word -- at which people were there for the music.

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2014 A19

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Theresa Oswald announces bid for NDP leadership

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hangs out on a birch tree in St. Vital. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is considered a keystone species. Other species take advantage of the holes that the birds make in trees. A group of sapsuckers are collectively known as a
  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think it's a good idea for Theresa Oswald to enter NDP leadership race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google