Those who know Steve Miller Band primarily from classic rock radio can surely quote every last line from “The Joker” and at least a half-dozen others by heart. And while the “Ultimate Hits” were absolutely on display at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino in Hammond (just a stone’s throw away from the Chicago blues scene this Milwaukee native continues to devour), there were several other styles presented throughout 90 well-oiled minutes.
The band’s namesake (whose godfather was none other than Les Paul) is also no slouch when it comes to playing his six-strings, and a spacey trip through “Fly Like An Eagle,” followed by some meatier licks during “Rock ‘N Me,” were surely reasons for eventual inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Sure, “The Stake,” “Swingtown” and “Abracadabra” immediately got the floor to its feet, as did “Living In The U.S.A.” (dedicated to the men and women serving in armed forces) and “Take The Money And Run,” though there was additional intrigue bubbling under the surface. The 73-year-old couldn’t remember what project the group’s cover of Elmore James’ “Stranger Blues” came from (it was 1993’s “Wide River”), but used it as an opportunity to explain the genre’s rich heritage in the triangle of Memphis, Texas and the Midwest.
There was even a silver of country come “Dance, Dance, Dance,” a psychedelic slant to “Wild Mountain Honey” and the Latin-flavored rhythms of “Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma,” which Miller said was inspired by guitar god Carlos Santana. The band’s namesake (whose godfather was none other than Les Paul) is also no slouch when it comes to playing his six-strings, and a spacey trip through “Fly Like An Eagle,” followed by some meatier licks during “Rock ‘N Me,” were surely reasons for eventual inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.
Miller didn’t move around too often throughout any of the above, expect for when a fellow musician stopped by to trade some riffs, but an ever-changing backdrop helped enhance the experience (most strikingly, the winged horse from the “Book Of Dreams” album cover currently celebrating its 40th anniversary). However, he did get a little looser come the encore of “Jungle Love” and “Jet Airliner,” two more sing-a-longs in a night that was rarely without one, but turned out to be just as appealing each instance it colored outside the expected lines.
For additional information on Steve Miller Band, SteveMillerBand.com.
Upcoming concert highlights at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino include Aaron Lewis (Oct. 6); George Clinton and Larry Graham (Oct. 27); Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp and Tye Tribbett (Nov. 4); Styx (Nov. 10); Foreigner (Nov. 11); Sinbad (Dec. 2); Merry Christmas with Keith Sweat and Will Downing (Dec. 9), The Temptations (Jan. 14) and “Salute To The ‘60s”: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, The Buckinghams and The Grass Roots (Jan. 27). For additional details, visit TheVenueChicago.com, ConcertMgmt.com and Ticketmaster.com.