Steve Miller Band "took the money and run" at Mystic

Categories: Concert Review
Steve Miller Band.jpg
Photo by Nikki Miller
I don't know if Steve Miller and his band hit the jackpot on the casino floor following their performance at Mystic Lake Casino Saturday Night (presumably not). I don't know if Steve Miller and his band were paid a load of cash for playing to a near-capacity crowd (presumably so). And I don't know if following any of this, they "ran." But I do know that during their performance I was at times moved (like when an over-zealous fan kept knocking me in the back of the head and I literally had to move out of her way as she screamed "We love you Steve!"), but that for most of the ho-hum set I pondered things like "I wonder what Steve does to make his hair look that good at 65?" or "Bobbie Sue took the money and run? Shouldn't it be ran?"

Steve Miller Band 3
Photo by Nikki Miller
Miller took the stage to his 1977 hit "Swingtown" followed by "Serenade" off his 1976 Fly Like an Eagle album for a relatively unenthusiastic kickoff to the night's show, which lacked in the verve I want to see in a live rock band and lacked the groove I expect to see from such talented musicians as Miller has assembled (including the accomplished local drummer Gordy Knudtson). Miller's guitar was mixed far too loudly, as if to distract from the fact that we were about to sit through a pretty rocky performance. As I grumbled in my seat I couldn't help thinking I'd rather see someone's dad's band play at Minnesota Music Cafe or Bunker's. I wasn't impressed. The band began to loosen up a bit for their third song, "Abracadabra," and things steadily improved for the rest of the show as the band offered up several of its hits (including "Fly Like an Eagle," "The Joker," "Take the Money and Run," and "Jungle Love,") as well as a selection of songs from their upcoming album, covers of Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Stevie Ray Vaughn, an acoustic set with "Wild Mountain Honey" as a highlight, and requests from the audience at the show's end, "Livin' in the USA" a highlight then.

Steve Miller Band 2.jpg
Photo by Nikki Miller
Miller's band is no doubt feeling the pain of losing local bass phenom Billy Peterson, who was replaced in the last year by guitarist Kenny Lee Lewis after Peterson injured his ankle in a fall, and the loss of longtime member Norton Buffalo to lung cancer last summer. Even with the recent addition of singer Sonny Charles, who contributed some needed vocal flair and energetic panache to the band, the Steve Miller Band I saw Saturday night seemed an assemblage of very talented musicians who perhaps play together too rarely, and could use a practice or two to pull together and sound less like individual performers, more like a cohesive band.

Steve Miller Band 4
Photo by Nikki Miller

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