Steve Miller is well known for his role in helping establish
the West Coast rock scene back in the '60s and '70s. But this concert
DVD returns Miller to the genesis of his musical roots, back when
he lived in Chicago and soaked up blues inspiration from Muddy
Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and the like. Although Miller's studio
output has been rather sparse of late, his 1988 Born 2B Blue
disc was filled with blues covers. So while the concert portion of
this DVD/CD set focuses on Miller's pop/rock staples, its extra features
help give perspective as to why Born 2B Blue was such a meaningful
backwards glance for the singer/guitarist.
During an illuminating documentary segment, Miller roams through
the streets of his old Chicago neighborhood in a taxicab like a man
trying to travel back in time. But except for his visit to the Blues
Heaven Foundation, located on the former Chess Records Studio lot,
most of the physical evidence of Miller's memories is gone. But while
there aren't many visuals to back up his fond memories, it is still
fun to hear Miller - although, honestly, not the most excitable guy
- recall his days as a young, aspiring guitarist. Miller also explains
how he moved to Northern California and helped introduce that region
of the country to some of his musical heroes. If what he says is true,
Miller is one of the reasons why Chicago blues heavyweights made it
onto the bills with popular rock acts at The Fillmore. And that, no
doubt, was a significant step in the era's blues revival.
There are also extra interviews with various Chicago Steve Miller
fans, which don't shed a whole lot of light on why this singer/songwriter/guitarist
has had such strong staying power. Nevertheless, the concert itself
answers that question far better. You may not realize the variety
in his repertoire until you watch this eclectic set, which ranges
from the moody and spiritual "Fly Like An Eagle", to the
cool and acoustic "Wild Mountain Honey". Miller also knows
how to straight out rock, which he proves via "Jet Airline"
and "Living In The USA". Furthermore, "The Joker"
is one of the weirdest, most wonderful FM hits of all time. Last,
but not least, Miller shows off his blues affections with a smoking
version of "Crossroads".
For many, the musician's troubadour life can be a strange journey.
Miller, for instance, went from being a blues-loving kid to a "midnight
toker" (as the song says) FM star. But most artists, if given
the chance, always return to their first loves. And in this case,
Miller gets the opportunity to visit the place where it all started.
And here, he is indeed in blues heaven.
Check out more
e-mail the chief
Like this article?
it to a friend!