CONCERT PREVIEW: Steve Miller opens summer concert series

Steve Miller Band

The Steve Miller Band opens the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series Saturday. Jacob Petersen, Joseph Wooten, Steve Miller, Kenny Lee Lewis, Sonny Charles and Gordy Knudtson. Photographer: Tim Brown

The Space Cowboy lands Saturday for the opening of the Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys.

The Steve Miller Band performs with opener Nicki Blumn and the Gramblers. The show starts at 7 p.m. The ticket prices range from $49 to $159.

It is the 11th year of the modern era of the concert series which began when Harrah’s acquired the across the street neighbors Harveys Lake Tahoe (continuing the tradition of spelling Harveys with no hyphen).

“It’s going to be an exciting summer, kicking off this week with Steve Miller,” Director of Entertainment John Packer said Thursday, the day he announced Journey will play Sept. 14.

“He did really well the last time he was here (in 2011). You forget, at least I do, how many hits he had, how many great songs he’s written. It’s just one great song after another. Classic rock fans will really enjoy that show. And, of course, with him is Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. (See related Tahoe Onstage story).”

Miller’s career began in the 1960s with a blues band in Chicago. He collaborated with Paul Butterfield and jammed with Muddy Waters. He later turned to harder rock and recorded “Gangster of Love” and “Space Cowboy.” He fell in love with the San Francisco music scene and moved west. He was a regular at the Bill Graham’s Fillmore and once was the headliner above a truculent Miles Davis, who purposely showed up late so he didn’t have to open.

One recording session led to radio play ubiquity for Miller when he made the tracks for the albums “Fly Like and Eagle” released in 1976 and “Book of Dreams” which came out in 1977. Singles from those albums included “Fly Like An Eagle,” “Rock’n Me,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Jet Airliner” and “Jungle Love.”

Miller returned to his blues roots for albums released in 2010 and 2011, “Let Your Hair Down,” and “Bingo.”

The Steve Miller Band performed at Harveys in July 2011.

Packer was pleased to book Dave Matthews for Sept. 4. Rising artist Gary Clark Jr. will open that show.

“I’ve been trying to get Dave Matthews for several years, in fact, maybe for 10 years his name has come up,” Packer said. “Finally this year it worked as far as the routing goes, so we’re real happy to get him.”

Vermont jam band Phish will return for a pair of midweek shows July 30-31, which sold out in record time.

“I think it’s great that Phish is coming back now that we know about Phish,” Packer said. “The first time out we weren’t too sure. We knew who they were, of course, and that they were a great band but we weren’t sure about 9,000 people a day descending upon the place. But it was great. The Phish fans are just terrific fans, real music lovers. So we were really happy when they wanted to come back after being here just two years ago.

One more concert could be scheduled, Packer said, a country band in early August.

 Lake Tahoe Summer Concert Series

  • Steve Miller Band with Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers (ticket range $39.50-$135) on Saturday, June 22

  • Tim McGraw ($69 to $135) with Kip Moore on Tuesday, July 16

  • Rascal Flatts with the Band Perry ($135.50 to $59.50, reserved seating) on Friday, July 19, celebrity golf weekend.

  • FUN. with Tegan and Sara ($49.50, reserved seating) on Tuesday, Aug. 27

  • Brad Paisley with Chris Young and Lee Brice ($135 general admission, $135-$69.50 reserved seating) on Friday, Aug. 30

  • Phish, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 30-31

  • Dave Matthews and Gary Clark Jr., Wednesday, Sept. 4.

  • Journey with TBA, $59.50-$199.50, Saturday, Sept. 14

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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