Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
s aging heartland rock and roller Bob Seger was ready to scorch the closing song of the night, "Rock and Roll Never Forgets." Seger changed the lyrics. Instead of "sweet 16 turns 31," Seger sang "sweet 16, turns 72."
Seger put both hands on his knees as he sang the lines, looked down, shook his hand and may have smiled, perhaps lamenting the fact that he is what he is.
Yes, the son of Detroit is aging, but he sure made it look really good.
His hair may be gray; he wears eye glasses, a simple black t-shirt and jeans. His voice is just slightly weathered (though seemingly less so than it was about five years ago).
Yet, this was vintage Seger with a plethora of chestnut material, an excellent band and the knowledge that the focus was going to be on the music, not a lot of flash and sizzle. The music was sufficient to fill that bill.
This wasn't a show built on surprises (plus they're only seven dates into the tour). Instead, it was efficient, although it also didn't feel like a by-the-numbers affair.
Seger's band large Silver Bullet Band continues to back its leader admirably from a lot of sharp guitar licks from Rob McNelley to a four-piece Motor City Horns section to the drumming of Don Brewer to lots of piano from Jim Moose Brown to the trio of female back-up singers. Many have been with Seger for decades, and it showed.
And of course, the always welcome sax playing of Alto Reed, who scorched on songs like "Mainstreet" and perhaps the highlight of the night, "Turn the Page." Seger, who gave background to a chunk of the songs throughout his 110 minutes, said he wrote the song in Oklahoma with it veering in one direction, until Reed took it in a whole other one.
The song was most tender in the hands of rocker looking back on his former life.
Other songs filled that bill too - his first real breakout hit, "Night Moves," for example. One suspects that life has been a lot more settled for Seger for a number of years, but he can look back to the days of old with authenticity. (Give credit for not pandering to Boston sports team as countless musicians do. He was unafraid to wear his Detroit Tigers hat).
So did songs like "Travelin' Man" seguing into "Beautiful Loser"
That was one of the aspects that separates Seger from the pack. He needn't strut his stuff or have a big stage show to make his point. Moving about the stage, pumping his fists, throwing the mic out to the crowd to sing a few lines was enough from Seger to show that he still has the abilities. His voice was just a tad worn on one or two songs, but one also suspected you're not going to hear Seger using Autotune either.
Seger wasn't exactly resting on his laurels, though that would be easy to do. He has a new disc coming out in mid-November with a single due in eight days. He lamented that it was supposed to have been out already, but "it's my fault," he volunteered.
Curiously and in about the only disappointment of the night, Seger played nothing of his upcoming music.
Aside from that, this was vintage Seger. He may have had it right when he sang "Against the Wind." Seger is still running quite strong and doing things his way. Yup, rock and rollers never do forget where they came from.