Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band rocked the over-40 set at the Garden, delivering 20 of Seger’s plentiful hits almost exactly as we all know and love them, dusting in enough variation to keep it interesting. Besides hearing the songs, we were treated to to-the-point introductions to many of the tunes, brief histories of their inception that made the songs just a little more personal. Seger, who certainly gets his props as a rocker, also stands among some of the best songwriters in music, and for those few who are now shaking their heads and saying, “Seriously?,” I offer “Turn the Page” and “Like A Rock,” with the lyric “I stood proud…I still believed in my dreams,” words that should resonate with anyone who’s seen glimpses of FDR, JFK, MLK, LBJ and today’s WTC and ISIS. It’s not all history, either: from the latest album, Ride Out, on “All of the Roads” he sings, “Every mirage has a certain appeal…Sooner or later, all of us head for home.” The man’s still writing magic.
Seger’s also got the concert thing down. Megahit “The Fire Down Below” showed up as the third song in, and the pace progressed perfectly, with Seger fist-pumping to stage left, then stage right, seated center with a guitar, stage left at the piano or ceding the spotlight to one of this bandmates, most often Alto Reed, whose unforgettable sax riffs have added so much to the Seger catalogue. Reed played a huge part in the energy of the show, but Seger’s a generous performer and frequently introduced members of the band and stood aside for their solos, something not every star does; during one introduction, Seger pointed out that almost everyone on stage hailed from Michigan, another sign he hasn’t lost his roots.
Photos by Arnold Goodman
One highlight occurred with “We’ve Got Tonight” (his mother’s favorite song), when he played the first half solo, sweet, soft and wistful, accompanying himself at the piano. Toward the end of the show, Seger climbed off center stage, into the photo pit and the front rows, and was boosted back up on stage by a cameraman. He really does have this performance thing down.
Fifteen genuine hits, and another five soon-to-be hits, a truly killer backing band (especially the powerhouse horn section) and a performer who still has his vocal chops, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band’s a show not to miss.
– Suzanne Cadgène