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Concert Reviews:
Bob Seger Rocks Joe Louis In Home Town Return

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2007

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DETROIT -- The adage that you can't go home again does not apply in any way, shape or form to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band in the Motor City.

As Tuesday's show at Joe Louis Arena proved, Seger and company can indeed come home, again and again and again...And nobody minds at all.

Kicking off the closing run of his ''Face the Promise'' tour, Seger had 16,500 home town devotees, a sold-out crowd already buoyed by a sun-filled spring day, on their feet from start to finish, singing along loudly to rockers such as ''Sunspot Baby,'' ''Ramblin' Gamblin' Man'' and ''Horizontal Bop'' as well as ballads like ''We've Got Tonight'' and ''Turn the Page.''

Seger's Detroit area partisans had already seen four shows in December at the Palace of Auburn Hills, so Tuesday he and the Silver Bullets brought surprises both significant and subtle. The biggest was the show-starting rendition of Ike & Tina Turner's ''Nutbush City Limits,'' a soul scorcher with horns pumping and precision stop-time breaks sharpening the dynamics. Followed by ''Tryin' to Live My Life Without You,'' it rooted the show in a sturdy R&B groove, while ''Roll Me Away,'' which had opened previous concert, proved a potent starting point for the show's second half.

Other changes were not quite as obvious but still effective -- noticeably the expanded use of the four-member Motor City Horns section in the bridge between ''Travelin' Man'' and ''Beautiful Loser.'' Seger also added ''Fire Down Below'' to the set, along with Vince Gill's ''Real Mean Bottle'' -- although Kid Rock was not on hand to re-create their duet from the ''Face the Promise'' album.

Forty-seven shows into the tour, the Silver Bullet ensemble was still on upward curve -- confident and swinging but still tight as Red Wings shootout and anchored by Don Brewer's muscular drumming. Guitarist Mark Chatfield and saxophonist Alto Reed laced solos throughout the show, while Craig Frost's piano playing gave most of the numbers an extra layer of coloring.

And Seger looked even more fit than he did at the Palace, leaner and more animated, offering anecdotal kernels before many of the songs and clearly having a ball. Given the 10-year hiatus prior to this tour, it's hard to say when we can expect to see him again. But as things wind down with shows Thursday and Saturday at Cobo Arena -- both of which are being taped for a possible live release -- Seger is certainly leaving fans hoping it won't be very long.

Some tickets, priced $65, are available for Thursday's concert at Cobo. Saturday's show is sold out.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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