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Concert Reviews:
Bob Seger is still the same, and more, at DTE opener

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2019

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP – Bob Seger wasn’t about to have an address named in his honor and then deliver a sub-par show.

And while it's not like Seger and his the Silver Bullet Band would ever do so, especially in their home town, but Thursday night's concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, the first of a six-show run to close out the current leg of his farewell tour, was, to mix the sports metaphors, nothing short of a grand slam.

The two-hour and 10-minute show on the newly christened 33 Bob Seger Drive (named for what will be 33 Seger sell-outs after the sixth show) was a blockbuster, barn-burner and all other applicable descriptors. From the opening "Shakedown," Seger's first and only No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, to the main-set closer "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and the encore finale "Rock and Roll Never Forgets," Seger and company delivered a lusty troll through his greatest, with a couple of welcome deep digs into his catalog.

And Seger, in strong voice throughout the night, hardly looked like a guy on his final tour but, rather, as present and engaged as he's ever been, smiling nearly non-stop and as engaged and present as performers a fraction of his age (74).

"It's good to be home again!" Seger -- sporting a Harley-Davidson T-shirt, jeans and, during much of the show, a black sweatband -- declared early on. And the 24-song set had a few special home town touches, even beyond something like the Ann Arbor-inspired "Mainstreet." Chief among those was the inclusion of the rarely played "The Famous Final Scene" from 1978's "Stranger in Town" album, which Seger tossed in as "another extra song for this encore 'cause I'm home, dammit!" and called "apropos" for the occasion. He also clearly enjoyed being able to give a home turf airing to "In Your Time," a new track he composed for his 1994 "Greatest Hits" album that was inspired by his then two-year-old son Cole.

And a cover of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young," set up as a tribute to late fellow rockers (Tom Petty, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Chuck Berry and more) was more resonant in these parts as a dedication to Glenn Frey, with a mighty roar from the DTE crowd as photos of the Eagles co-founder (and "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" backup singer) appeared on the rare-stage video screen.

The rest of the night was populated by Seger's hits, which are such an abundance he even left a fair number behind as he and the Silver Bullet Band -- 14-strong at full power (though ailing longtime backup singer Shaun Murphy's participation was noticeably limited) -- tore through the likes of "The Fire Down Below," "Old Time Rock & Roll," "Roll Me Away," "Come To Poppa," "Her Strut," the fail-safe pairing of "Travelin' Man" and "Beautiful Loser" and "Hollywood Nights," powered by solos from saxophonist Alto Reed and lead guitarist Rob McNelley and, often, with muscular backing by the four-member Motor City Horns. "The Fire Inside" was particularly ferocious as Seger cheer-led piano breaks by Craig Frost and Jim "Moose" Brown, while Rodney Crowell's "Shame on the Moon" and "You'll Accomp'ny Me" made welcome returns after a few years in dry-dock.

And even gentler moments such as "Still the Same," "Like a Rock," "We've Got Tonight" and "Turn the Page" burned with the particular energy that comes from a torqued-up and rapturous hometown crowd.

As he left the stage before the encores Seger blew kisses and thumped his heart to demonstrate what it meant to be playing yet another night at the former Pine Knob. The feeling was, of course, mutual -- with hopes that this stand won't be the last the metro area sees of its hometown hero as the tour continues later in the year.

Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band perform again Saturday, June 8 and June 12, 14, 19 and 21 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre. New blocks of tickets have been released for each of the shows. 313-471-7000 or 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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