The original “Space Cowboy,” Steve Miller was known for his band’s early psychedelic albums and later rock radio hits such as “The Joker,” “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Jungle Love” and “Take The Money and Run.” In 1973, Steve Miller Band abandoned their psychedelic blues roots on their eighth studio album, The Joker, and instead brought a smooth fusion of pop, rock and blues.
But in 1969, the band was still firmly cemented in the raw blues tradition when they released their third studio album, Brave New World. It was the group’s first album since the departure of founding members Boz Scaggs and Jim Peterman, with Ben Sidran replacing Peterman on keyboards. On this day in 1969, the band performed at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, the venue that became legendary for hosting popular California bands like Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Steve Miller Band.
Wolfgang’s Vault writer Alan Bershaw describes the band’s performance that night of two 10-minute long blues jams:
On stage, the group went for a more raw, stripped down approach as can be heard on these set-closing jams recorded at Fillmore West. The first one begins well in progress with Winkelman handling lead vocals on a medley of familiar blues tunes before shifting into a riproaring reprise of “Your Old Lady,” the song that likely began this lengthy jam. The second is a modal excursion into psychedelic territory, a style familiar to fans of the early Miller Band, but not well represented on his albums. No hits are to be heard here, but this is a fine example of Miller’s strength as a guitar player, a factor that would become decreasingly obvious as he ventured through his multi-platinum decade of the 1970s.
Listen to Steve Miller Band perform at the Fillmore West in 1969 below.