Steve Miller was once an Austinite, and once a U.T. student, before he blew town for the West Coast in the 60's in search of his fame and fortune. It's probably a good thing he didn't hang around waiting for Austin's music scene to catch up.
The long time Dallas transplant, who spent time on Les Paul's knee learning guitar as a child, returned to Austin last night to be the first artist to tape a set for the internationally known Austin City Limits show in it's new home at the Moody theater.
With a show that interspersed his own hits with standards like "Mercury Blues", Miller and his band transported many concertgoers back in time to the 70's, myself included.
Playing to a "sold out" house, per se, (it appeared the show, like most ACL tapings, was invitation only) the venue was packed by an upscale Austin audience that appeared to include most of Austin's music press, as well as local music industry notables and lots and lots of long time friends of KLRU and ACL. With the floor standing room only, those in the balconies had the better view though the sound quality was excellent not only throughout the house, but even on the P.A. at the street party outside the theater.
This has been a month of firsts for Austin's newest live music venue and it has already gone far to establish itself as one of Austin's best. I hope to be invited back to cover some other ACL tapings but only time will tell.
It's often been said that you can't toss a rock in downtown Austin without hitting a musician, where you can expect to find live music happening any day of the week and at virtually any hour, but its' not often that you turn the corner downtown and see an entire street turned into a live music venue. It happens, but it's usually an exception rather than a rule. Tonight was one of those exceptions.
Austins re-vitalized 2nd Street district shut itself down for an old fashioned block party, and who better than one of Austin's own, Rick Trevino, to help welcome KLRU and Austin City Limits to their new home in the Moody Theater of the W Hotel.
With the studio's move from down on the UT campus, and with tonight's first Austin City Limits taping of Steve Miller, guests of the taping were treated to a full set by Rick and his band as they trans-versed the street to the studio. It's not often you have to go through one concert to attend another, but in Austin you get used to it.
Rick's set ended with just enough time to slip into the Moody Theater and settle in for Steve Miller. Patrons at the street party then got to watch and listen to the Austin City Limits taping inside on large projection screens across from the theater, and frankly the view, and the audio mix were superb, almost as good as the theater itself. It's too bad the screens do not appear to be permanent, but perhaps making each taping an event is something worth considering.