Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steve Miller Band Performance History January 1968-June 1968 (Steve Miller III)

This continues the Steve Miller Band performance history from 1966 through 1968. For the first installment, from October 1966 through May 1967, see here, and for the second half of 1967 see here. Anyone with additional information, corrections, insights or memories should contact me or post them in the comments. This installment attempts to identify every Steve Miller Band and Steve Miller performance from January to June 1968.
January 4-6, 1968: Winterland Vanilla Fudge/Steve Miller Blues Band/Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee/Sweetwater (4th Fillmore)

January 12-18, 1968: Café Au Go Go, New York, NY John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers/Steve Miller Band
The Steve Miller Band were probably on their way to London to record their first album, but they seem to have stopped off in New York/ At this point, they are no longer billed as The Steve Miller Blues Band. The Cafe Au Go Go was a Greenwich Village nightclub located at 152 Bleecker Street.

February, 1968: The Steve Miller Band was in London recording their first album. Miller made recording in London a condition of signing a contract. While there, all but Miller are busted for marijuana (the newspaper clipping above is a wire story from the February 27, 1968 Des Moines Register).

April, 1968: The Steve Miller Band’s first album, Children Of The Future, is released on Capitol. Records. Given that the band was recording the album in January and February, an April release is a pretty quick turnaround, even for the 1960s.

April 11, 1968: Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA Yardbirds/Steve Miller Band
The Miller Band seems to have made a national tour, but I only know of a few gigs. The Boston Tea Party was the a major stop on the psychedelic "circuit." Jimmy Page was the lead guitarist of The Yardbirds at this time.

April 12-13, 1968: Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA Steve Miller Band/Earth Opera
Earth Opera was a psychedelic folk-rock group on Elektra that featured Peter Rowan and mandolinist David Grisman, both of them later in Old and In The Way with Jerry Garcia. Earth Opera released two interesting albums on Elektra in 1968 and 69.

April 15-17, 1968: Garrick Theater, New York, NY Steve Miller Band
The Garrick, upstairs from the Café Au-Go-Go, was a small theater in Greenwich Village.

April 18-21, 1968: Café Au Go Go, New York, NY Steve Miller Band/Bunky and Jake

April 26-28, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Steve Miller Band/James and Bobby Purify/Sons of Champlin
Tapes survive of all three nights.

May 8, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead/Charlatans/Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks/It’s A Beautiful Day “Fire Dance” Alton Kelly Benefit
The Steve Miller Band may have also played this Carousel benefit.

May 10-12, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Steve Miller Band/Kaleidoscope/Youngbloods
Tapes of the Steve Miller Band survive for all three nights. The band engages in some impressive extended jamming, soaring off a chord or two for long periods of time. Lonnie Turner in particular shines on bass. On May 11, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady (and possibly Elvin Bishop) show up to jam at the end of the show.

May 17-18, 1968: Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles, CA Grateful Dead/Steve Miller Band/Taj Mahal Pinnacle Presents
On May 18, the Jefferson Airplane appeared as unannounced guests.

May 18, 1968: Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose, CA

Jefferson Airplane/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Grateful Dead/Steve Miller Band/Youngbloods/People/Sons of Champlin/Crome Syrcus/Transatlantic Railroad/Indian Head Band/Mourning Reign

This was the first day of the two-day Northern California Folk Rock Festival. Acts are listed in reverse running order (the Airplane closed the show). An audience tape survives of the Miller Band set, seven songs in about 40 minutes.

May 21, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: jam with Jerry Garcia, Jorma Kaukonen, Elvin Bishop, Steve Miller, others
Although the Carousel's finances were terrible, the music was still good. Jerry Garcia wanted a place to jam, so the idea was that Tuesday nights would be "jam night" at the Carousel. Admission was only a $1.00, and musicians felt free to hang out and jam. There is a tape, and Miller plays some blues on songs like "Key To The Highway." Probably other members of the Steve Miller Band were there as well. 

May 30, 1968: Acalanes High School, Lafayette Steve Miller Band/Loading Zone/Country Weather/Frumious Bandersnatch
Teen Drop-In Center Benefit
The Frumious Bandersnatch were from Lafayette, CA, in Contra Costa County. This was the first time the band met Steve Miller. Every member of Frumious Bandersnatch ended up in the Steve Miller Band at one time or another in the later 60s and 70s.

June 6-7, 1968: The Hippodrome, San Diego, CA Steve Miller Band/Alexander’s Timeless Blooze Band/Baptized By Fire
The Hippodrome was downtown at Front and G Streets.

June 12, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Steve Miller Band/The Charlatans/Dan Hicks

June 16, 1968: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA Big Brother and The Holding Company/Steve Miller Blues Band/Sandy Bull/Dan Hicks/Santana Matrix Benefit

June 19, 1968: The Ark, Sausalito Steve Miller Band/Curley Cook’s Hurdy Gurdy Band
Although the Steve Miller Band was billed at The Ark, a tiny hangout on am old Ferryboat moored at Gate 6 in Sausalito, I find it highly unlikely that the Steve Miller Band actually played there. However, it seems very plausible that Miller would show up to jam with his old pal Curly Cook, so this was probably Cook’s band with Miller helping out and sitting in.

June 24-25, 1968 The Cheetah, Santa Monica, CA: Steve Miller Band/Rubber Hi-Way
The Cheetah, on Navy Pier, was more of a "teen" place, and often featured local bands. Capitol probably got the Miller Band booked there to create some sort of buzz. It's hard to say if it worked, but these kind of clubs soon disappeared anyway.

June 28-30, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Steve Miller Band/Buddy Guy/Initial Shock
The Steve Miller Band may not have played on the 29th (see below). Given the state of The Carousel’s finances, they may not have played any of the shows, or the shows may not have even happened.

June 29, 1968: Shrine Exposition Hall, Los Angeles, CA The Who/Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac/Crazy World of Arthur Brown Pinnacle Presents
This was almost certainly Fleetwood Mac’s American debut (there is a small chance they debuted June 23 at the Carousel in San Francisco). The Mac was still the original 4-piece lineup (Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood) as Danny Kirwan would not join until August. The second night (June 29) Steve Miller Band replaced Crazy World of Arthur Brown, due to an injury in the band.
For the final installment, see here.


  1. An additional date turns out to be

    June 24-25, 1968: The Cheetah, Santa Monica, CA Steve Miller Band/Rubber Hi Way

  2. I also forgot

    June 12, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA Jefferson Airplane/Steve Miller Band/Charlatans/Dan Hicks

  3. What about free shows in the Panhandle Golden Gate Park? I first saw the band sometime in '66. Sorry, I can't help with a date...