Live: Bob Seger at the BankAtlantic Center, January 12
photo by Sayre Berman
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Even so, the more mature Seger remains age-appropriate, especially given
the lyric to one of his signature songs: "Call me a relic, call me what
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you will / Say I'm old-fashioned, say I'm over the hill... I reminisce
about the days of old / With that old time rock and roll."
His vocals may lack the brash bellow and expressive authority for which he was once famous, and though he shuffles more than struts these days, Seger still delivers. Last night, over the course of nearly two searing, spell-binding hours, Seger and his 14-piece Silver Bullet Band demonstrated a passion and stamina that would tire performers half their age.
The band, especially, serves as a support ensemble that's every bit as able as Springsteen's E Street brigade or Petty's Heartbreakers. The ensemble rotated on and off stage as the set list demanded, congregating in force for the rockers and thinning out for more subtle songs.
Saxophonist Alto Reed is still an ideal foil, his mournful call to arms on "Turn the Page" and relentless riffing throughout "Old Time Rock and Roll" getting a guaranteed audience response. Reed remains the perpetual showman, a cheerleader of sorts who commands attention from the fringes of his boss's spotlight while adapting his best rocker posture.
The band's other longtime veterans -- bassist Chris Campbell, vocalist Shaun Murphy, keyboard player Craig Frost and ex-Grand Funk Railroad drummer Don Brewer in particular -- prove equally adept at giving Seger the solid foundation and propulsive pull that's inherent within his greatest hits. Many of these were duly performed: "Hollywood Nights," "Night Moves," "Beautiful Loser," "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" and "Still the Same," to name just a few of the 20-odd songs included in the concert. (For the record, one could still quibble with the show's exclusion of "Like a Rock," "You'll Accomp'ny Me," "Still the Same" and "Fire Lake.")
Seger genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself as he encouraged the audience's enthusiasm by playing to both sides of the stage. Consequently, practically every song became a sing-along with the nearly sold-out audience remaining on their feet throughout.
Likewise, when he took the occasional turn on piano and acoustic guitar, he wasn't relegated to any incidental contribution. He made an incisive impression on the melodies that stood out from the accompanying instrumentation. Seger was still in charge and as authoritative as ever.
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