Sunday, November 06, 2011

Concert Review: Bob Seger doesn’t rely on flash to deliver decades of hits

Bob Seger proved that he is one rocker who’s not ready for the rocking chair after his lengthy, entertaining concert of Old Time Rock and Roll on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.

Here's what Columbus Dispatch writer Gary Budzak had to say this morning:

The 66-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is on tour to promote his Ultimate Greatest Hits album out later this month. Genuinely pleased to be in town, Seger recalled singing Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man decades ago at the Sugar Shack, an old Columbus bar. That was before my time, but that same song still sounded good in 2011.

Eschewing video screens and other gimmicks, Seger’s leathery voice held out to sing many of the hits that were the soundtrack to many a listener’s life. It’s an impressive body of work that is by turns fun and reflective; songs from the heartland for every man and woman.

Seger mostly stood and sang last night, but he also strummed a six-string on songs like Mainstreet and Night Moves or piano on We’ve Got Tonight. He didn’t have the Mick Jagger moves, but he moved around enough that you knew he meant it when he said he needed a seven-minute intermission to change his shirt.

For more than two hours, many of Seger’s best songs were heard: Feel Like a Number, Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You, Travelin’ Man, Beautiful Loser, Come to Poppa, Turn the Page, Sunspot Baby, Katmandu, the motorcycle song Roll Me Away and Her Strut. Seger said of the latter, “I wrote this song about Jane Fonda.”

A few cover songs, including Tom Waits’ Downtown Train, Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits and an early Little Drummer Boy were thrown in.

Seger’s encores included Against the Wind, Hollywood Nights and the summation for this night of music, Rock and Roll Never Forgets.

No review of a Seger concert is complete without mentioning his Silver Bullet Band. The standouts for this show included the awesomely-named saxophonist Alto Reed, Grand Funk Railroad drummer Don Brewer, three female background singers and the Motor City Horns. And although Columbus’ Mark Chatfield, a Silver Bullet veteran, wasn’t on hand, Ohioan Kenny Greenberg was fine on lead guitar.

Frankie Ballard, a country-rocker formerly from Michigan, opened for 40 minutes. His raspy voice was OK on originals like A Place to Lay Your Head, Tell Me You Get Lonely, A Bunch of Girls and John Mellencamp’s Pink Houses.

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