Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Last week the archivists at Wolfgang's Vault added a huge collection of concert videos to their website.  There are hundreds of performances available -free!- by almost any major act you can think of.  It's a rock 'n' roll treasure trove well worth checking out.

Having attended many Bill Graham events, TSG dove in and started looking for stuff from Winterland.  Lo and behold, we came across a Steve Miller show from 1974! Hey, we wondered, could it be the same one where we took one of our all-time favorite pictures? You know, the one with Stevie playing guitar behind his head?  (You may or may not recall the image--it's in a post from sometime last summer, we think)

We worked our way through most of the show, convinced it was the same one, waiting for that guitar solo. It all came back, the jostling of the crowd, the aromatic whiffs of combustible green matter, the music blasting our eardrums into submission...And then, there it was, right at the end of Livin' In The USA!  The Gangster of Love whips his axe behind his head and starts to wail! YES! We were there!

Well, not quite...notice the visible elbows in the b&w image. And the vest is different as well. Rats! We saw him play behind his head at Winterland all right--there's no doubt about that. But it wasn't the show in the video.  Our photo had to have been from the night before. Wonder if that ticket stub is still around, maybe in the box in the closet? Nah, we be too lazy to look for it now. (For the curious, the other 2 acts were ZZ Top and the Climax Blues Band)

More Miller Miscellany: We had encountered the then-incipient Joker three months earlier on the same tour; that was a Winterland gig too. He was opening for King Crimson of all people...talk about a mixed bill! The young Grasshopper had only a vague notion of what King Crimson was about, but we came away a true believer.  They put on one of the most impressive shows we have ever witnessed.  Being assaulted by Lark's Tongues In Aspic for the very first time, from 4th row was, um, mind-blowing.