Joe Cocker / Steve Miller Band
(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI - June 27th, 2008)
After starting out as an unsuccessful pop singer (working under the name Vance Arnold), Joe Cocker found his niche singing rock and soul in the pubs of England with his superb backing group, the Grease Band. Indeed, he hit number one in the U.K. in November 1968 with his version of the Beatles' 'A Little Help from My Friends.'
Tonight, opening up for the equally rock iconic Steve Miller, his friends may have changed over the years but Cockers passionately soulful vocal tones are still as perfect and as guided as any known to man. Opening with such songs as 'Feeling Alright,' 'My Baby Wrote Me A Letter,' 'When The Night Comes' and euphoric 'Up Where We Belong' it was when he reached 'You Are So Beautiful' that the crowd was literally now hanging on every spoken or sung word the man uttered.
"It's good to be back in Detroit," he exclaims, in one of his few spoken outbursts with the sod-out crowd. 'Come Together,' 'No One Knows You When Your Down Out,' and 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' - a song that the crowd went NUTS for - all have them on their feet by this stage; the latter tune culminating in a 37 second standing ovation of pure hand clapping sound!
Bringing the show into the station Cocker brought us 'Unchain My Heart' - which received a full 39 second loud standing ovation - and 'A Little Help From My Friends' - which Joe about three-quarters of the way through incorporates his huge, yet deep signature scream off into. A massive one minute and 35 second standing ovation followed before he finally left the stage leaving the crowd baying for more.
Coming back out for the encore his all-time classic 'Came In Through The Bathroom Window' was followed by 'Cry Me A River.' Finally leaving the stage for good, Cocker walks to the mic, smiles a sly smile and says, "Detroit! Goodnight and keep rockin'"
Steve Miller's career has encompassed two distinct stages: one of the top San Francisco blues-rockers during the late '60s and early '70s, and one of the top-selling pop/rock acts of the mid- to late '70s and early '80s with hits like 'The Joker,' 'Fly Like an Eagle,' and 'Abracadabra.'
Tonight he casually strolled out on stage at 8.45pm, and after casually welcoming the crowd to is show by saying, "Good evening and welcome to Swingtown," he follows with "Tonight we have a lil' magic for ya" ... and heads straight into 'Abracadabra.'
"It's great to be back in the Motor City," he exclaims afterwards. "Ya know, walking around backstage I saw a picture of me on the wall. Man I look like I was 12 years-old" he laughs, before heading into 'Shubada' - from 'The Joker' album, side two. 'The Stake' and 'Mercury Blues' are next before he’s back chatting with his fans once again. "While playing three nights at the Filmore in San Francisco earlier this year," he says. "I called Sonny Charles from The Checkmates (Motown Records) to come and join us. I'm proud to say the newest member of the Steve Miller Band is Sonny Charles!"
'Pretty Thing' is next before Steve makes everyone aware that the night is dedicated to Bo Diddley; and then proceeded to chat about him for awhile longer. 'Come On,' 'Ooo Poo Pa Do' - an old Jessie Hill tune - and T-Bone Walker's classic 'Stormy Monday' are next in line, before his own classic 'Fly Like An Eagle' is upon us ... for a good solid 15 minutes or more!
Playing a Sitar Miller purchased in N.Y. in 1965 for $125.00 out of a barrel at Manny's, 'Wild Mountain Honey' has never sounded better. He then goes on to tell us that he got a call and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was sending someone over to talk to him! They wanted to buy this very same Sitar. He told them no thanks, but they said they would pay him $932,000.00 for it. He then asked the crowd "Should I sell it or should I keep it?" several times, before telling them he thinks he's gonna keep it ... much to the crowds mutual approval! After all, he's had it for 43 years!
Next up was 'Wintertime,' 'Dance, Dance, Dance,' 'Rockin' Me,' and 'Jet Airliner' which really had everyone pounding their dancing feet on the floor. Bringing the set to a close with the classic 'The Joker,' Steve leaves the stage, waving and smiling at all his adoring fans.
Coming swiftly back out for the encore, he starts with 'Take the Money and Run' before heading into 'Jungle Love' and then a montage that features: 'Crossroads,' 'Rock Me,' 'Come On,' 'True Fine Love,' and 'Drivin' Wheel.' As he leaves the stage for the last time, his parting words are: "Peace, love, and happiness. Take care of each other. Goodnight every body. Bye bye."
Review By: Ramon Trevino Jr.