To most, Steve Miller is known as the guitar wizard who penned ‘70s rock staples like “Fly Like An Eagle” and “Rock’n Me.” This much is true. But slightly more dedicated fans and those who have been to one of his shows realize Miller’s true artistic persona: a refined blues-man with a masters in crafting rock songs that are both atmospheric and that make you feel good.
His greatest hits and the jammiest deep cuts coexisted in bluesy matrimony at his show last Saturday night with Peter Frampton at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. This nationwide tour has become an annual event for the two esteemed guitarists – and how could it not be? All in all, their performance equated to three-plus hours of perfected rock ‘n’ roll. Frampton had his magic rolling on all cylinders, reciting through his most beloved anthems like “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do,” also performing stellar covers of Soundgarden (“Black Hole Sun”) and Ida Fox (“Four Day Creep”).
By the time Steve Miller Band hit the stage, there was little work to be done in terms of igniting the crowd. The whole place was cheering and wailing before a single chord was struck. Approaching the stage in a calm, stoic manner, SMB bolted right for the boogie, jumping into a run of road trip classics, including “Living in The U.S.A.” and “Take The Money And Run.” Miller made sure to flash his status as a blues disciple too, bringing Frampton back on stage for excellent tributes to Freddie King (“Same Old Blues”) and Elmore James (“Stranger Blues”).
Out of the dozen concerts or so I’ve been to in the past year, this one stands out for pure musicianship and showmanship. For anyone who appreciates the structure and energy of a solid rock band, Miller and Frampton’s tour is a can’t-miss. Their best work lives in the unique canon of instantly recognizable rock songs, and for many, their music was part of the soundtrack to life in 1970s America. Those times have come and gone, but for a one-night gig, their performance was nothing short of exhilarating.