In his classic hit “Like a Rock,” written in 1986, Bob Seger laments his lost youth, singing
Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
I don’t know
I sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone
It’s more than 50 years now. But Bob Seger still puts on a terrific show. WC was lucky enough to catch Seger and the Silver Bullet Band at the Ford Idaho Center Thursday night, and there were moments that were simply sublime.
The Ford Idaho Center is an indoor rodeo facility – no, seriously, it advertises itself as the home of the Snake River Stampede – and the acoustics are pretty much what you would expect in a rodeo facility. Not ideal. They sell beer in unlimited quantities, too. The consequences of that marketing decision included the dude in the cowboy hat next to WC who tried to sing along, badly off-key, except he didn’t know the words. And the seriously intoxicated lesbian couple who stood – well, swayed and staggered – and necked through much of the show. WC concedes that Seger attracts an amazing diverse audience. The concert started more than fifteen months late, too, delayed by Seger’s near-emergency back surgery and recovery.
But you know what?
It didn’t matter. Not in the slightest. Bob Seger’s music ruled the night.
Seger and his band rocked the house down. His songs echo of loss, and the determination to move on, to keep trying, in the face of that loss. The loss may be your youth, or your marriage, the death of a friend, or a ham-handed mistake. But you get back on your feet and try again. Seger knows that’s his theme. His only cover of another artist’s song was a very credible version of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” while on the screen behind him there were images of singers we have lost in recent years, many in photos with Seger: Prince, Glenn Frey, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen and more.
The current version of the Silver Bullet Ban includes three guitarists, two saxophonists, two drummers, a bassist, organist, pianist, a four-member brass section and three backup singers. They absolutely nailed many of the songs; Alto Reed’s sax solos, especially on the intro to “Turn the Page,” made the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Even if it’s against the wind.
The set list covered all of the hits and most of WC’s favorites that never made the charts. He gave the adoring crowd two encores, that included “Night Moves” and closed with “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”
At Seger’s Nashville stop of Seger’s current tour, fellow Michiganer Kid Rock said, “He’s one of the best singer-songwriters in American history.” It’s true. And while he’s sold some 75 million (!) records, he doesn’t turn up on everyone’s list of rock and roll greats. He should.
Thank you, Bob Seger, for an outstanding show.