Returning to Meijer Gardens, the Steve Miller Band held off the rain Monday night with help from country star Marty Stuart and blues guitarist Matt Andersen. The Local Spins review and photos.
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Predicting the weather in Michigan this time of year can be a tough job, but Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park higher-ups seemed to have a direct line to Mother Nature on Monday as Marty Stuart and Steve Miller’s “Classic Country meets Classic Rock” tour rolled through just ahead of the storm front they’d been eyeing.
The only problem with “a late call” to move the show up a half-hour to “try to stay ahead of weather that might be coming later,” as Meijer Gardens put it, was alerting fans left unaware of the change in plans.
Those in their seats at the ticketed starting time saw the entirety of Stuart’s set. But some of those who shelled out a pricey $125 and arrived a little late, figuring they’d just miss part of blues guitarist Matt Andersen’s opening performance, may have been disappointed to see Stuart already on stage.
Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with Stuart’s actual set, as the country icon cranked out original Top 5 hit songs, “The Whiskey Ain’t Working” and “Tempted,” his recent rocker, “Time Don’t Wait,” and a few songs made famous by his ex-wife Cindy Cash’s father, Johnny, and Uncle Tommy, including “Orange Blossom Special,” “Ring of Fire” and “Six White Horses.”
A PERFECT BLEND OF COUNTRY, HONKY-TONK AND BLUEGRASS STYLINGS
The 60-year-old singer, dressed in black leather pants, a black jacket and scarf, shifted between acoustic and electric guitar as well as mandolin, over the course of his set, and with his band, The Famous Superlatives, treated the nearly sold-out audience to the perfect blend of electric and classic country, honky-tonk and bluegrass.
He did it all while an appreciative and smiling Steve Miller sat, waiting in the wings, soaking it all in.
“I find it real interesting that you have to go on the road with a ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’ anymore to play classic country,” joked Stuart, who shared the spotlight with each of his bandmates over the course of his 60-minute set.
During the show, Stuart gave up the mic to longtime guitarist “Cousin Kenny” Vaughan for Vaughan originals “Country Music Got A Hold On Me” and “Hot Like That,” to drummer “Handsome Harry” Stinson for a take on Woody Guthrie’s “Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd” and to bassist Paul Martin for a slow-grooving cover of Merle Haggard’s “Brain Cloudy Blues.”
And while some may have wondered beforehand if “classic rock” and “classic country” shared any solid middle ground on a bill together, Miller and Stuart likely left no question marks behind them as the two bands later joined up full-force in the middle of Miller’s set for countrified Steve Miller Band classics “Going to the Country” (video below), The Loving Cup,” and “Dance Dance, Dance.”
“This is what happens when music from the Delta meets music from the Appalachia, but first goes down to Texas to get a little hot sauce on it,” Miller quipped. The two acts then unleashed “The Loving Cup,” a tune that was highlighted by Stuart’s mandolin playing, Miller’s harmonica and the flair of Miller Band keyboardist Joseph Wooten.
A GREATEST HITS-TYPE SET FROM MILLER AND CO.
Prior to the sit-ins, Miller and company wasted no time in diving into what played like a greatest hits-type set as they took the stage and came out rocking with takes on “The Stake” and “Jungle Love,” before delivering “a little magic” with former No. 1 smash, “Abracadabra,” that had fans on their feet singing along.
The chatty Miller, who performed on a number of different guitars over the course of the show, dedicated songs to the U.S. Armed Forces, “Living in the USA,” and talked about his $150 choice 18-string Coral Sitar that lives in the Metropolitan museum next to Robbie Shankar’s sitar, before delving into “Wild Mountain Honey.”
He also whipped out a Gibson EDS-1275 18-string double neck guitar similar to the one Jimmy Page used on “Stairway To Heaven” for his performance of “In the Wintertime.”
As you’d expect in any greatest hits-type set list, Miller delivered most all of the classics, including “Space Cowboy,” “Fly Like an Eagle” and “Rock’n Me” during the meat of his performance, with a triple encore of “Swing Town,” “Joker” and “Jet Airliner” that closed things out as rain started pouring down.
PHOTO GALLERY: Steve Miller Band, Marty Stuart & The Fabulous Superlatives
Matt Andersen at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Anthony Norkus
VIDEO BY RYAN BOLDREY: GOING TO THE COUNTRY
Copyright 2019, Spins on Music LLC