The Steve Miller Band Plays Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Event Center
Steve Miller has been a busy musician lately. He was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame by his good friend and actor, Bryan “Breaking Bad” Cranston. Steve played his classic “Fly Like An Eagle” for his fellow inductees and audience on a special evening in New York City. The next stop was Summerfest, the World’s Largest Musical Festival in Milwaukee. Steve and the band were scheduled for one night at the fest but at the last minute helped out his friend, Ann Wilson of Heart. Some of Wilson’s crew tested positive for Covid and Steve played a second night to cover for them.
Making his way down to Florida, Steve and band kicked off the July 4th holiday weekend on Thursday night at the Tampa Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Event Center with a sold-out show! It was a Steve Miller Band lovefest with SMB t-shirts, both vintage and current in attendance. This was my first experience seeing Steve Miller, so I was interested to see what kind of show he puts on. He first played in Tampa Bay in 1970 at the old Curtis Hixon Hall. Since then he has come through every few years or more.
What some people might not know about Steve is that he a well-respected blues guitarist and started in blues in the 60’s. Hard to believe but he started The Steve Miller Band in 1966 in San Fran! He appropriately kicked off the set with “Strangers Blues”. The beautiful, “Fly Like An Eagle” came early in the set with a jam of “I Want to Make the World Turn Around”. 1977’s megahit “Jetliner” sounded just like it did on the radio all those years ago. Steve used many of his collection of guitars during the show, telling stories in between tunes. The sound and lighting were on point as well as the stellar band. There is nothing flashy about this show, there doesn’t need to be. The music speaks for itself. Miller sounds good and his guitar playing is top notch. He almost always kicks his solos into overtime.
“Abracadabra” had the crowd on its feet. A number one hit for Steve in 1982, the video was on MTV in heavy rotation. Today it has over 10 million views on YouTube. For a little country flavor, “Dance, Dance, Dance” had Steve on an acoustic guitar. The band keeps the flow going with Kenny Lee Lewis, a wildman bass player who is very entertaining. Jacob Peterson is working guitar on stage left of Steve. Drums are handled by Ron Wikso, who has played with Cher, Foreigner and a list of bands as a touring drummer. Joseph Wooten has been with Steve since 1993 and kicks it on the keyboards.
You can’t leave a Steve Miller show without hearing about his famous friendship with guitar icon Les Paul. He tells the story of going to Les’ house and seeing guitars everywhere and hoping Les will give him one, but his mentor tells him if he wants a Les Paul guitar, he has to earn it for himself! A hilarious and touching tale of the teacher and the student as Les taught Steve his first chords on the guitar.
One of my favorites, “Take the Money & Run” was also one of the crowd’s favorites and it was a big sing-along with people dancing in the aisles. Steve & band closed the show with the 1973 classic fun tune, “The Joker”. I love the Tampa Hard Rock’s Event Center, such an intimate venue to see some of the biggest and classic acts of our time.
Vicky Sullivan Photos
Ann Wilson, blues, Bradenton, Brian Cranston, Events, Florida, Guitarist, Hard Rock Event Center, Heart, live music, Musicians, Sarasota, Songwriter's Hall of Fame, The Steve Miller Band, Vicky Sullivan