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Steve Miller Rocks!

During the 1960s, Steve Miller once played at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Richmond, Virginia:

"There were about ten bands total. The promoters had been saying for weeks, everything's gonna be mellow, there's not gonna be any trouble, we worked it out with the police, we talked to the mayor...

"We get to the gig and there are about twenty-five thousand people on the football field; nobody's sitting in the stadium. The first band starts playing, second band plays, third band plays and all of sudden there's some trouble in the audience.

"There were two hundred plainclothes narcotics agents in the audience who had started busting people. While Boz Scaggs is playing, a helicopter with a judge flies in, like, thirty feet above the audience. It was turning sideways, tilting to show the judge people in the crowd smoking pot. Then up drive some buses full of storm troopers with four-foot shields, big poles and helmets, everything. It gets better...

"Next door to this stadium a new one is being built, and some kid goes up this dirt ramp between the two and starts up a bulldozer. He drives down the ramp and crushes, like, seven police cars. Kids start smashing in the windows of the cop cars.

"Meanwhile the promoter is saying to me, 'You've gotta play, man. You've gotta go up and play!' We're up next and we're the headliner. Just as I get onstage, the riot police come into the stadium, ready to storm into the crowd. People start throwing cans and bottles at them.

"So I dedicated the next song to the police and played 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' They all stopped, took their helmets off and the whole riot ended. We finished the concert."

["My limo driver said, 'Man, I had tears in my eyes when you did that,'" Miller recalled. "You know, it's always good to have an experienced hand at the tiller."]

[At a press conference following Human Kindness Day in Washington, DC on May 10, 1975, police reported that there had been 600 arrests, 150 smashed windows, 42 looted refreshment stands, 17 stonings of uniformed officers, 33 fires, 120 cases of public brawling, and 14 cars demolished in Constitution Avenue.]

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