With a career spanning over thirty years and serving as the drummer and/or vocalist for a long list of performers including Wilson Pickett, The Electric Flag, Carlos Santana and the immortal Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few, Buddy Miles is clearly one of the all time greats of rock, blues, r+b and soul music.
On Friday night at The Cabooze in Minneapolis, The Buddy Miles Express put on a dynamite show that far exceeded anything that I ever could have imagined. It wasn't just because Miles played drums for two hours of the two and one half hour show, despite the fact that he was rolled to the stage in a wheelchair because of various physical ailments; but more so because he played every great song that I grew up with, sounding just as good as they day he first recorded them. "Them Changes," "Dreams," "Down By The River," "All Along The Watchtower" and so on, every one was simply EXCELLENT!!
Backed by an exceptional six-piece band that included lots of hot tenor saxophone by Patrick Gage and keyboards provided by Mile's long time musical partner, Mark "Muggie Doo" Leach, The Buddy Miles Express performed two sets covering two and a half hours and 30 years of Mile's musical experience.
The first set opened with three of my favorite songs; "All Along The Watchtower," "Dreams" and "Them Changes." All three songs were filled with soul, each including extended instrumental interludes. The set ended 60+ minutes later with Buddy seated in front of the drum set singing "Tell It Like It Is," that included a fantastic solo by Patrick Gage. As fast as the set went, it was nice to hear Buddy tell the audience that he would be back after a short break to tear the house down again.
After the 30 or so minute break, The Express opened the second set with a song from Mile's latest CD, Miles Away From Home, called "Changes." The song turned into a medley of songs that included "Purple Haze," Sunshine of Your Love," "Heart of the City," "Superstitious," "Bold As Love," "Little Wing" and "Turn On Your Love Light." Needless to say, the song drove the entire audience into a complete frenzy. Other songs performed during the set included a funked up version of "Tobacco Road," Neil Young's classic, "Down By The River" and "Hey Joe." Although Miles clearly extended the second set as he talked and sang, seated at the front of the stage, the show ended far too soon for me and for everyone else in attendance.
Buddy Miles repeatedly expressed his love for the Twin Cities and the great audiences that come to see him whenever he makes an appearance in the area. He also expressed his desire to come back as soon as possible. Personally, he can't possibly come back soon enough, but I will be there when he returns.
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.