50 Years Ago in History: A ‘Gripping’ Violin Performance Stole the Show Over Steve Miller Band

by Madonna

Expo ’74 showcased a range of musical performances, but critics overwhelmingly favored one over the other.

A music critic hailed violinist Isaac Stern as “the consummate violinist of our time.”


“Stern performs with an overpowering passion which is gripping,” the Spokane Review (S-R) wrote. “While some may approach his technical precision, there is probably no one who can match his rigor and torrid expression.”


Stern’s performance earned a standing ovation, one of the few encores Expo audiences had experienced up to that point.


In contrast, the concert featuring the Steve Miller Band, Boz Scaggs, and James Cotton received a brief mention in the S-R. The review noted: “Miller, who told the audience it was his 31st performance in 35 nights, lacked some of the polish and vitality which always comes across in his albums.”

The article also noted that Miller attracted a crowd of 4,048, significantly larger than Stern’s audience, as the Opera House holds around 2,600.


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