I bought a record player at Radio Shack in 1973. I installed it in my room, and then went out and bought a few vinyl records to play. The second one I bought was Steve Miller Band’s The Joker. Last night on the 40th anniversary of this seminal classic rock album, we saw Miller and his band play live at Tanglewood.
They began playing right at 7:30, and launched into Jungle Love. From there it was hit after hit, straight into Take the Money and Run, to Nobody Loves You, to The Way I do, The Stake, Abracadabra, songs that are still played every day on classic rock stations around the country.
What I love about this guy is how anonymous he is, his photo never adorned his albums, he was in the background, preferring to use an image of Pegasus the winged horse, and not a great big photo of himself.
The setting was evening at Tanglewood…where we usually see Beethoven and Mozart. But now it was time for “you old jokers” as Miller called us, to enjoy the old songs that we listened to on record players. How does someone who wrote the majority of his best songs in the 1970s still draw such enthusiastic crowds? Consistency. Giving the fans exactly what they came for.
His voice may be a little less robust, but his playing is still superb and there couldn’t be a nicer place to see a master of rock than Tanglewood. The set list included Wild Mountain Honey, Gangster of Love, Fly Like an Eagle, and a three-set encore of Swingtown, Space Cowboy, and a singalong The Joker. All good!