Bob Seger is the consummate road warrior.
Even before Bruce Springsteen was kicking off his career playing college campuses or the beachside haunts of the Jersey shore, when John Mellencamp was still referring to himself by the nom de plume Johnny Cougar and John Fogerty was still at the helm of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Seger was already earning his reputation as a tireless storyteller and consistent crowd pleaser. From the late '60s on, he plowed the back roads of the American heartland, from his native Detroit to North Florida, singing songs detailing his life as a weary traveler forced to deal with more than an occasional hostile encounter at rest stops along the way.
With his Bob Seger System -- and, later, the Silver Bullet Band -- he offered a combination of fierce anthems, heart-worn ballads, and rousing rock 'n' roll. He took the songs from the highway to the charts and became a certified star in the process.
Despite the steady string of successful albums that filled store shelves from the late '70s to the mid-'80s -- and the seemingly nonstop succession of hit singles those albums spawned ("Hollywood Nights," "Against the Wind," "Old Time Rock and Roll," and the track that's forever identified with a certain car commercial, "Like a Rock") -- Seger's star began to fade with the dawning of the '90s.
Happily, though, he's reemerged -- grayer, a bit more wizened, but still as dynamic and determined as before. With his new album, Ride Out, he revisits familiar musical terrain, making it signature Seger in both style and delivery. Happily too, after retreating from the road for several years, he and a revitalized Silver Bullet Band are touring once again, reminding the faithful that indeed, as the song says, rock 'n' roll never forgets. And if it did, a stirring, unforgettable concert is all that's needed to jog its memory.
Even as he nears his 70th birthday, Seger's seemingly inexhaustible energy; raspy, irrepressible vocals; and commanding and compelling performances rouse his audiences and fire up the faithful. Bob is back, but in truth, it's like he never went away.
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. 8 p.m. Saturday, February 7, at BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise. Tickets cost $65 to $95 plus fees. Call 954-835-8000, or visit ticketmaster.com.
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