Steve Miller Plays Palace

By Jean-Marie Ebel

The Palace Theatre continued its impressive lineup on July 26 when it brought Steve Miller to town. An FM staple during the 1970s, The Steve Miller Band has regained much of its popularity with the best-selling greatest hits package, The Greatest Hits (1974-78). (Coincidentally, a 3-disc collection, Steve Miller Box Set, was scheduled for release by Capitol Records on the day of Miller's Palace concert.)

Performing songs spanning his 25 years in recording, from the 1960s to today, Miller and his collection of guitars wowed a near-capacity crowd. The intimacy of the Palace seemed to further heighten the intensity of the performance, especially for Miller, who remarked early in the show that it has been seven years since he has played in a theater of that size.

The crowd of mixed ages immediately warmed up to Miller, who often commented on the personal significance of each song that he played. Flanked by longtime harmonica sidekick Norton Buffalo, Miller sampled from his collection of rock, blues and even country.

Legendary blues tunes such as Otis Rush's "All Your Love (I Miss Loving You)," "My Dark Hour" from 1969 and "Delta Blues" off the Fly Like An Eagle album paid tribute to blues greats and recalled Miller's early days in Chicago.

The majority of the concert, however, was dedicated to Miller's long list of radio hits. Extended versions of "Fly Like An Eagle," "I Want to Make the World Turn Around" and "Joker," which ended the night, were beautifully executed and deservedly well received. Rock favorites such as "Jet Airliner," "Rock 'N Me" and "Take the Money and Run" were also treated to that special Miller touch.

The nearly three-hour performance showcased the considerable talents of Steve Miller as a guitarist, songwriter and singer. Well supported by an excellent backup band, Miller showed the lasting power of his unique music.