Steve Miller - lead vocals, guitars, harmonica; Gerald Johnson - bass; John King - drums; Dickie Thompson - keyboards
This historic Bay Area concert captures the Steve Miller band eight months before the release and just prior to the recording of their commercial breakthrough album, The Joker. Several of the songs from this show ended up on the album, including "Sugar Baby," "Evil," the Robert Johnson blues standard "Come On In My Kitchen and the nonsensical, "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma." The performance certainly offers a telling peek of things to come.
With the exception of those that made it to The Joker album, all of the songs from this show can be found on the first seven Steve Miller Band albums. The first seven tracks are performed entirely by Miller, solo on a 12-string acoustic guitar. He then brings out the rest of the band, consisting of Gerald Johnson on bass, Dickie Thompson on keyboards and John King on drums.
Wits the band on stage, things kick into high gear, beginning with a pulsating version of the Miller radio classic "Living In The U.S.A." From there, they kick into a rocking take on "Space Cowboy," perhaps the strongest track of the show. Unfortunately, however, the recording suffers from an uneven mix, and Dickie Thompson's Hammond B3 often overshadows Miller's live vocals.
Still, this is a brilliant performance of a great band captured in their prime. Other highlights include a rocking version of "Gangster of Love;" Miller's version of the traditional Gospel Negro spiritual, "Motherless Children;" a Cream-inspired version of "Crossroads" (incomplete here); and "My Dark Hour," which would be rewritten some years later as "Fly Like An Eagle."
Also of note is the tune "Evil," which sounds like the guitar riff was lifted exactly from the 1967 Blood Sweat and Tears classic "I'll Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." Influences aside, the Steve Miller Band remains one of the most formidable rock 'n' roll groups of their era - a fact to which both this recording and countless future hits would bear testament.