Homer's Travels: Music: Steve Miller Band At The Omaha Civic Arena

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Music: Steve Miller Band At The Omaha Civic Arena

It was bound to happen eventually.  After six great to awesome concerts over the last 13 months (Go-Gos, Rilo KileyEaglesB-52s, Foxboro Hot Tubs, and Joan Osborne), the Steve Miller Band (SMB) was mediocre.

The thing with live music is, it rarely sounds like the album.  This is often a good thing since why would you pay good money just to hear the album.  During live performances, the musicians tend to embellish their music either by extending or adding guitar/drum riffs, changing the vocals (changing pitch or key of the music), or both.  Done in the right way, the performance will be unique and better than the recorded version.  SMB did both and were not quite successful.
SMB's performance was divided into three sets.  The first set were lesser known SMB hits including "Swingtown", "Serenade", and "Dance, Dance, Dance".  I started to worry.  I knew the lyrics for these songs and Steve Miller was singing them at a different tempo than I remembered.  He was good but it felt off for me.  The performance was guitar heavy and vocally weak.

The second set were new Rhythm and Blues songs.  The vocals were sung predominately by the newest member of SMB, Sonny Charles.  These new songs, being recorded for a forthcoming new album, are heavy in the guitar and are very bluesy.  This style is taking SMB in a whole new direction.  In my opinion, they do not sound like Steve Miller Band.  The songs were good but you could see that the crowd didn't appreciate the new music.  After standing for the entirety of the first set, most of the audience had sat down mid-way through the second set.

The third set, which included the long encore, were the songs everyone had come to hear: "Fly Like An Eagle", "Rock'N Me", "Jet Airliner", and "Take The Money And Run".  Once again, the audience stood up.  Once again they embellished the songs extending out the guitar riffs.  The Wife thought they rushed through these songs and I have to agree.  The songs were sung too fast.  I guess they're just tired of playing these oldies after over 30 years of doing so and rushed through them.  This is too bad as it took away from our enjoyment.
Since it was Halloween, there were people in costume in the audience.  There was a small costume contest before the music started.  It came down to Jesus vs. Sgt Sexy.  Omaha, being a God fearing place, picked Jesus as the winner.  Some of my favorites was the guy, painted green, dressed as a teenage mutant ninja turtle, the polar bear, Dorothy and the cowardly lion, Elvis, and Sonny and Cher.

Speaking of Halloween, I doubt this was the best day for a concert.  Only half of the arena was being used and that half was not full.  I imagine that a lot of people were going to parties or escorting their little ghouls and goblins around the block.  It must be really disappointing for the performers to see the small audience.

So, to sum it up, a mediocre concert that entertained but did not meet expectations.  Steve Miller Band gets a B- for good songs but mediocre performance and a second set that felt out of place.


  1. Sorry the concert stank. Did The Wife wear her costume?

  2. GH: It wasn't that bad. Didn't meet expectations but it was entertaining.

    The Wife didn't wear the nun outfit. She let one of her nieces wear it while they gave out candy.

  3. Sounds like they may have benefitted from a smaller venue to get in touch with the crowd.

  4. JaG: I don't know. I think they've lost interest in their old sound and are more into their new stuff that's coming out soon. Unfortunately, the audience wanted the old stuff.