Miller Time

After a fruitful 40-year career, the legendary Steve Miller finally comes out with his first live DVD, Live from Chicago (Coming Home Media/Koch Records), a three-disc package that includes a full concert captured during last year's edition of the Ravinia Festival in Chicago (to which he returned for its release ); a laid-back documentary in which Miller himself talks about his formative years in the Windy City as he tried to make his name as a blues guitarist; and a 12-track audio CD with highlights from the same concert.

The concert DVD wastes no time in delivering the goods -- after a brief introduction with scenes in which the band warms up backstage while fans picnic outside as they declare their love for the band's music, the band kicks off with a jazz-rock version of “Fly Like An Eagle” that features individual solos from the members of Miller’s amazingly tight band, skilled musicians who have been playing together for more than two decades. Halfway through the tune, keyboardist Joseph Wooten surprises the audience by taking the mic to briefly rap over the tune's theme. The selections on the set mix crowd-pleasers like “Abracadabra,” “Jungle Love,” “Take The Money and Run” and “Dance Dance Dance” with tunes that relate to Miller's Chicago Blues roots, such as “Mercury Blues,” Robert Johnson's iconic “Crossroads,” and a cover of Jimmie Vaughan's upbeat “Boom Bapa Boom.”

The accompanying documentary features a conversation with Miller as he takes us on a tour of the Chicago he knew forty years ago when he started out, including some of locations where the clubs he played used to stand -- all of which have since been demolished and lost -- which prompts his emotional comment, “If there's a place that you like, enjoy it.”

Fri., Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m., 2008
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Ernest Barteldes