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The ultimate space cowboy serves up
a hearty dose of the blues

Steve Miller Band
Chicago Theatre
Chicago, IL
August 4, 2011
Steve Miller Band Steve Miller Band

Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

Between regular rotation on classic rock radio, endless karaoke attempts and serving as the soundtrack to countless college frat parties, the Steve Miller Band is still boasting a high profile after 40 years in the game. Though some of the band's songs have become quirky novelties since their release, there's also plenty of blues-inspired guitar rock to celebrate throughout a catalogue that's sold over 30 million albums.

Even if the Miller-led troupe shaped its current set list around the career spanning motif, much of the emphasis was on two newer albums that pay tribute to the group's blues roots. Whether tackling tunes from 2010's Bingo! or this year's Let Your Hair Down, the focus turned to rootsy covers spanning the Windy City to the deep Delta, all spun within its leader's unmistakable wails and guitar grooves.

However, before tipping his hat to a slew of past greats, Miller and company started with a slew of sing-a-longs, from the funky "Jet Airliner" to the call and response charm of "Take the Money and Run" and the new wave-tipped "Abracadabra." From there, he turned in a sumptuous portion of covers, including Bobby "Blue" Bland's smoldering "Further on Up the Road," Otis Rush's growling "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" and Lowell Fulson's soulful "Tramp."

Though the remakes were all interesting and served as a fulfilling history lesson, Miller's most familiar originals picked up the momentum to yield the party more casual fans were surely expecting. And the veteran made sure no stone was left unturned, from the psychedelic staple "Fly Like An Eagle," to the even more trippy "Wild Mountain Honey" and the country-infused "Dance Dance Dance." Though "The Joker" was a predictable finale, it still sounded sweet as Miller proclaimed his status as the "Pompitus of Love," and after four decades of music making, there's no disputing his spot as the world's most celebrated "Space Cowboy."

Steve Miller Band Steve Miller Band
Steve Miller Band Steve Miller Band

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