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His best mixed with
Steve Miller Band - Live From Chicago
Review and photos by Andy ArgyrakisIn choosing Chicago as the city for his first ever concert DVD, Steve Miller and his eponymously titled band couldn't have picked a better spot than the famed Ravinia Festival. Rivaling Red Rocks with its outdoor beauty yet packing in plenty of fans to ensure a party (particularly on the lawn), the venue only amplified this two DVD/single CD set of flashbacks. The set starts on the instantly familiar footing of "Fly Like An Eagle," which swiftly moves from a sing-a-long to a smoldering jam session that paves the way for the harmonica-laced "Living In the USA." Miller and his five tightly knit backers also unload the early smashes "True Fine Love" and "Abracadabra," both brimming with catchy, post-psychedelic appeal before diving deep into the blues.
While those only aware of Steve Miller Band's radio history might be thrown for a loop, core supporters know the singer's intimate ties to the Chicago blues scene in the mid-1960s (where he shared stages with Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, amongst many others). That career period is aptly represented with vibrant renditions of Jimmy Vaughan's "Boom Bapa Boom," the classic "Crossroads" (tipped in the Cream direction) and Otis Rush's "All Your Lovin.'" From there, Miller takes an original trip down memory lane, turning in the trippy "Wild Mountain Honey," plus a half-dozen sure fire karaoke cuts (with "Take the Money and Run" and "The Joker" serving as the loudest in the audience participation department).
The second DVD provides additional background on this specific filming, plus shots of Miller touring Chicago's South Side, fleshed out even further with a photo gallery from the show and an interview by Joel Selvin (who also pens the project's linear notes). A single disc CD of concert highlights appeases those looking for a car or stereo soundtrack, though it's a shame only twelve of the twenty tracks from the Ravinia show were featured (and puzzling as to why they're out of sequence). Even so, the visual installment is the most cherished of this handsome box set, which provides an apt summary of the Miller's many eras at one of the area's (and America's) most meaningful musical landmarks.
The Steve Miller Band swings through the Windy City once again, this time with opener Joe Cocker at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 5 (www.ticketmaster.com).
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