After several years away, it was once again time to see everybody’s favorite Gangster of Love and Space Cowboy! With his 2018 performance to a sold-out crowd still fondly remembered, on August 25th, the Pacific Amphitheatre saw the return of the Steve Miller Band.
As I parked at the amphitheater, I was greeted by “Jet Airliner” being played on a nearby car stereo. I was immediately catapulted back to the ‘70s, to a simpler time when I was an awkward preteen and used to blast that same song on my cheap little radio, playing air guitar with a badminton racket to what I thought was the greatest song I had ever heard.
The sold-out venue was made up of a very age-diverse crowd. I saw older people, people my age, young people; a smattering of all of them. A woman in a wheelchair told me she and her husband take every opportunity they can to see Steve Miller.
The thing I like about the Pacific is no matter where you sit, you have a good seat and you can see everything perfectly. The venue was filling up fast, and people were headed to their sets with their drinks and merch (the tacos are pretty good!).
Suddenly, the music stops it goes completely dark.
The lights come back on and everyone cheers… Steve Miller, guitarist, multiplatinum-selling singer songwriter, bandleader, controversial Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Songwriters Hall of Fame Electee, took the stage with his bandmates and wasted no time going right into the Elmore James cover, “Stranger Blues.” The crowd was on their feet and watching Miller play reminded me how to play air guitar properly.
The sound was beautiful and the acoustics at the Pac Amp are amazing. “Fly Like an Eagle” was next and Miller told us about his first guitar and how, as a childhood friend of the Les Paul family, Miller would sit and watch Paul play for hours.
The crowd stayed on their feet and continued to dance as he started “Jet Airliner.” I looked around and saw people singing and laughing, with big smiles and head bobs. Miller’s music has touched so many lives in one way or another, and reminded me of something Dick Clark used to say: “Music is the soundtrack of our lives.” Well, I have to say Steve Miller’s music is part of the soundtrack of my life and many of the lives of the people at the Pacific Amphitheatre.
The evening continued with what had to be 27 guitar changes; I guess when you own 450 guitars you have to bring them out every once in a while. One hit after another: “Abracadabra,” “Dance Dance Dance,” “Jungle Love,” “Space Cowboy,” “Take the Money and Run,” and “Rock’n Me.” All his big songs, except there was one missing… Yes, he came out for an encore – and another guitar change – and played “The Joker.”
Another fantastic show from Steve Miller Band! I can’t wait to see you again next year.