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Concert Reviews:
Bob Seger delivers news as well as old time rock and roll at DTE

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Sunday, September 10, 2017

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band returning to the DTE Energy Music Theatre -- or, as he preferred to call it, Pine Knob -- for the first time in 21 years was news enough.

But the home town Rock and Roll Hall of Famer managed to trump it on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Early during the nearly two-hour, 22-song show, Seger revealed that he’ll be releasing a new album during November, and that a first single was to have been released on Friday, Sept. 8, but was delayed. Seger promised that the single would be out in time for his Sept. 23 concert closing the Palace of Auburn Hills, and that he’d perform it then.

“So we can’t play anything new,” Seger noted -- but truth be told that was just fine with the DTE crowd, which sold out on a fan club pre-sale. It was an evening for memories, recalling days when Seger and the Silver Bullets played multiple night moves at the venue, bolstered by a two-decade parade of platinum albums and seemingly non-stop hit singles. The prospect of fresh material was exciting, but on a chilly late summer night it was Seger’s old time rock and roll that really heated things up.

And rest assured familiarity bred favor at DTE. With the 15-piece Silver Bullet Band, and particularly guitarist Rob McNelley, in crack form and Seger in high spirits and strong voice, dancing and fist-bumping with front row fans throughout the night, the show was exuberant, muscular and mostly high-energy, drawing primarily from his multi-platinum triumvirate of “Night Moves,” “Stranger In Town” and “Against The Wind.” The opening “Roll Me Away” and the encores line-up “Against The Wind,” “Hollywood Nights” (with Seger’s daughter Samantha joining the regular trio of backing vocalists), “Night Moves” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” may have be well-worn, but they’re also bulletproof crowd-pleasers, and favorites such as “Trying To Live My Life Without You” “The Fire Down Below,” “Old Time Rock And Roll,” “Main Street,” the “Travelin’ Man”/”Beautiful Loser” medley and more held their own as reliable staples.

And Seger seemed dialed in and having as much fun as anyone else in the house; During “Her Strut” in particular he sang at the far edge of the stage just a few feet from fans, eyes closed as he locked into the song’s taut groove.

Seger has thrown a few fresh wrinkles into the show this year, as well, including the return of “You’ll Accomp’ny Me” after nearly three decades and the first-ever inclusion of the title track from 1991’s “The Fire Inside,” highlighted by piano solos by both Craig Frost and Jim “Moose” Brown. The group also performed the poignant title cut from 2006’s “Face The Promise,” while “Ride Out’s” topical “It’s Your World” was timely -- Seger called for prayers by those affected by hurricanes in the U.S. south -- if far from that album’s best track.

Seger didn’t refer specifically to Pine Knob or DTE by name during the show, but the “I Still Call It Pine Knob” T-shirt he wore during the final third of the concert, along with his jeans and sneakers, said what he didn’t have to. (A special souvenir T-shirt also referred to the venue as Pine Knob only.) Before “Rock And Roll Never Forgets,” meanwhile, he recalled that during 1992 some of the Silver Bullet children, then quite young, joined their fathers on stage, and on Saturday he called out his son and daughter as well as bassist Chris Campbell’s kids, all now young adults.

It was all at once a throwback to warmly remembered days gone by and a testament to Seger and company’s present potency. And it certainly left fans hoping that a return visit will happen well before another 21 years pass.

Some tickets are still available for Seger’s show at The Palace. Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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