By Devin Grant
Special to The Post and Courier
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The Lowcountry received a double shot of classic rock 'n' roll Tuesday night as the Steve Miller Band and Gregg Allman kicked off their co-headlining tour to a sold-out crowd at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center.
Allman got the crowd going early, performing classics, such as his solo hit "I'm No Angel," as well as material from his recently released CD "Lowcountry Blues." Of course, there also were a few hits from his early days with the Allman Brothers Band.
Allman, backed by a superb seven-piece band, delighted the crowd with favorites, such as "Whipping Post." At one point during his set, Allman walked off the stage, possibly to take a breather while his band kept the crowd entertained with a swinging R&B instrumental. He was back a few minutes later and rewarded the waiting crowed with the classic "Melissa," which included a flute solo. Guitarist Scott Sharrard in particular did a great job of re-creating the classic guitar licks most folks associate with the Allman Brothers Band.
After a brief intermission, the PAC darkened and psychedelic space sounds began to play over the venue's speakers. A huge curtain adorned with the image of the Space Cowboy dropped to reveal the Steve Miller Band, which kicked into the classic rock hit "Jet Airliner," followed by "Take the Money and Run."
Allman returned to the stage to join Miller and his band for a couple of songs, including "All Your Love" and "Ooh Poo Pah Do." Miller played a few new songs, including "I Got Love if You Want It" from his latest CD "Let Your Hair Down," but for the most part the guitarist and his band stuck to the classics, leading the crowd in singing along with such hits as "Swingtown," "Abracadabra," "Fly Like an Eagle," and "Rock'n Me." The encore included "Jungle Love," "Space Cowboy" and "The Joker."
The show ended late for a weeknight, but none of the estimated 2,300 fans in attendance seemed to mind staying up.
____________________ "I'm hung up on dreams I'll never see."
Steve Miller and Gregg Allman cruise along
A review of the Miller/Allman concert at the PAC
by Stratton Lawrence
Gregg Allman, Steve Miller Band
North Charleston Performing Arts Center
It's a challenge for any band with hit songs to tastefully incorporate the "must play" tunes into a set. Tuesday night's PAC double-header demonstrated two approaches.
If you're Gregg Allman, open up with crowd-pleasing "It Keeps me Wonderin'" and "I'm No Angel," but quickly shift into new tunes like, "Tears, Tears, Tears," and the funky, rolling "Floating Bridge." Although he used T-Bone Burnett's band on his new Low Country Blues, the songs were expertly interpreted by Allman's touring group, highlighted by guitarist Scott Sharrard and percussionist and singer Floyd Miles, a childhood friend of Gregg's from Daytona.
"I don't leave home without him," said Gregg, before unsuccessfully trying to toss a pick to the audience. "I never could throw those damn things."
Allman relied on lyrics and chords for much of the show, even losing his place during a take on Jackson Browne's "These Days." The new album's only original, "Just Another Rider," provided a highlight, but it was the songs Allman's known for years where he shined the most. "Dreams" was arguably the show's shining moment. After letting the band play an instrumental track, presumably to run to the bathroom, Allman finished up with his first song, "Melissa," on guitar, before a Floyd Miles' tune, "Back to Daytona," (featuring Allman's only organ solo) and the set closing, "Whipping Post."
"Midnight Rider" never made an appearance, and no one seemed to mind the band skipping a supposed "must-play."
Steve Miller, on the other hand, left nothing to be desired among fans hoping for a greatest hits catalog. The band's set up featured a spiral of cloth guitars with multi-colored LED lights moving through them over the band, and a rig oddly void of any on stage monitors or amps. A clean floor left plenty of room for Miller's backing vocalist, former Vegas singer Sonny Charles, to prance around and swim through the air. Resembling a black John C. Reilly, Charles' goofy, distracting dance moves seemed like a parody right out of Will Ferrell script.
Even Joseph Wooten (brother of Victor) couldn't save the band from super-cheese oblivion, rolling through songs like "Abracadabra," played just like they were in 1982. Miller's pudgy guitarist/bassist played the rock star in his sequin-studded shirt, tossing his guitar around and strutting across the front of the stage during the first encore, "Jungle Love."
Nothing was wrong with Steve Miller's band. Although they lacked a guitar ace like Allman's, they played through a string of hits just as they were recorded decades ago. Unfortunately, for those interested in more than a sing-along with bright colored lights, the show fell flat of the expectations after the high praise of Miller's show at Warren Haynes' Christmas Jam last December in Asheville. When Miller brought out an American flag adorned Stratocaster and yelled, "I want to be free!" three times during "Fly Like an Eagle," it was almost too much to stomach. And it wasn't too cool when Miller stopped the show to patronize his tech for a "guitar mistake" when his ax (a new one every song) wasn't tuned to drop-D.
Miller knows where the money comes from to book a tour in 2011, and he's not afraid to hype himself and his setlist. When he introduced the band, he finished, "and I'm the space cowboy." And of course, the show ended with everyone screaming along to "The Joker."
Again, for what it was, there's nothing to complain about. But as someone spoiled on inventive and creative performances, I couldn't help feeling like I'd just taken a circa 1985 cheesy boat cruise, or maybe a jet airliner ride, from North Charleston to Myrtle Beach.
[Edited on 4/22/2011 by Bee]
____________________ "I'm hung up on dreams I'll never see."
The GREGG ALLMAN name, The GREGG ALLMAN & FRIENDS name, likenesses and logos, are all registered trademarks of Gregg Allman, whose rights are specifically reserved. Any artwork, visual, or audio representations used on this web site CONTAINING ANY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS are under license from Gregg Allman.