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Posted on Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 1:32 a.m.

Bob Seger comes home for a satisfying show

By Will Stewart


Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band perform at EMU on Wednesday.

Jeff Sainlar |

What did you think of the show? Take the poll and/or leave a comment at the end of this post.

Related coverage:
Bob Seger a fan pleaser at hit-filled EMU show
Photos from Bob Seger at the EMU Convocation Center
Set list from Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band in Ypsilanti

If you weren’t paying close attention on Wednesday, you might not have even noticed that Bob Seger’s performance at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center was a homecoming show.

References to his hometown of Ann Arbor were few, and there weren’t any guest appearances by, say, Kid Rock. Even Seger himself rarely said anything more than “All right EMU” in reference to his surroundings.

But t then it hits you: the local color is embedded in the tunes. The dancer in “Main Street;” the “dark-haired beauty with big, brown eyes” in “Night Moves” … Michigan and Ann Arbor ooze out of these tunes.

And if there was still any doubt that Seger was back in friendly surroundings, it disappeared quickly amid the roars from 8,000 fans, who clapped along, sang along and pushed the 66-year-old singer through a two-set, two-hour-plus show.

Wednesday marked the first show of Seger’s fall tour and, let’s be honest, it wasn’t without its awkward moments. Breaking in a new sound system proved problematic, particularly when feedback actually halted the show for several tense moments.

Fortunately, Seger has dozens of tunes that are part of the collective consciousness, certainly more than enough to conquer a little feedback.

Wednesday’s show was perfectly paced, mixing the singer’s signature raveups like “Nutbush City Limits” and “Fire Down Below, mid-tempo rockers like “Beautiful Loser” and “Come to Poppa,” and ballads like “Against the Wind” and “Mainstreet” into a cohesive whole.

Unfortunately, Seger lacks the voice to really pull off some of his leaner and meaner material. “Her Strut” sounded thin, while the newly unearthed “Hey Hey Going Back to Birmingham” lost its way when Seger’s voice failed to cut through the mix.

The show’s highlights came when Seger found himself behind an acoustic guitar or in front of the piano. Without the bombast from the Silver Bullet Band, Seger’s songcraft really came through. “Night Moves,” the show’s penultimate number, “Against the Wind” and “We’ve Got Tonight,” therefore, were the evening’s emotional and artistic highlights.

A few thoughts:

• Sometime during the 1970s, Seger created a monster when he allowed Alto Reed’s saxophone solos to gain prominence in his songs. Now, songs like “Turn the Page” depend on Reed’s stage-chewing, smooth-jazz solos stepping all over the singer’s delivery.

• The Christmas tune “The Little Drummer Boy,” should be dropped from the set list immediately.

• Not surprisingly, considering first-night jitters, the Silver Bullet Band came out only half loaded. But after stumbling through the opening tune. “Feel Like a Number,” the band quickly found its footing.

• The newest band member, Kenny Greenberg, certainly earned his keep, ably recreating signature guitar parts throughout the show. Likewise longtime Silver Bullet drummer (and Grand Funk Railroad founding member) Don Brewer was rock-steady all night long.

On Wednesday, without a lot of fanfare or ceremony, Seger proved that—at least when your songs are part of the American soundtrack—you really can go home again.



Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 3:11 a.m.

I disagree with many points from this poorly written article. Little Drummer Boy was followed by BOB wishing everyone an early Merry Christmas and it was a beauitful song and a GREAT part of the show!! Alto Reed deserves the spotlight, along with the rest of them. He is an awesome musician and Bob is a humble man who makes the show all about the BAND as a whole. He doesn't just make it all about him. I don't think he should have anyone talk about him like that is a bad thing. I seen the show and it made a lifelong dream come true!!


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

It was a concert with a lot of people involved, the price of the ticket was quite fair in my opinion. With respect to Little Drummer boy, it was a very unique selection and i enjoyed it. Of course, there were a ton of other songs I wanted to hear to, but he played 24 and they all rocked!

Karl R. Witkovsky

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet was GREAT. AS a Seger fan from the 70's each show is outstanding. People have no problem of paying $4.00 a gallon for gas, there should not be a problem with the price of tickets, he is worth it for the show that is put on. Yes, the mix of the differnt songs is what makes the show along with sound and singing not perfect. This is want make it GREAT and fun.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

That is an insult to those who are trying to make a living and find $4 a gallon in gas something of a burden to those who are just trying to make ends meet. $73 is good for the wealthy and those who do not have other burdens. But for the remainder 99% that $73 is grocery money and money to buy other necessities with. Your post is an insult and injury. Think before you post something like this. Guess you are the 1% who can afford these tickets.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

I was surprised at Bob's lack of commenting on his local roots but hey he was there to sing--not talk. I thought this was an opening night to his 2011 tour but turns out this is the second half of the 2011 tour. I think he's done about 25 shows already with 23 more to go. Probably why we didn't see Kid Rock--no biggie. I thought Bob's distinctive and still strong voice was the highlight of it all for me. The band musicians were great too but the acoustics of the building kind of distort that. The EMU people are to be congratulated for bringing Bob to the Convocation Center. How come there aren't any concerts at Crisler anymore? As is always the case when I go to a concert there are my favorites that are performed and some that are not. That's okay. The rendition of Main Street was great. The best song was Roll Me Away. Little Drummer Boy was nice but it's only November 2nd and I would have preferred such songs as Still the Same, Fire Lake, Shame on the Moon, Understanding, Like a Rock, Shake Down, Fire Inside, C'est La Vie, In Your Time, Satisfied and 3 really good songs off his last album FACE THE PROMISE: Wreck this Heart, Wait for Me and No Matter Who You Are. At 66 years of age Bob is awesome and inspirational. He makes me feel younger!

chris-ann paterson

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

Please Bob Seger, PLEASE do not drop the Little Drummer Boy as suggested in this review! It was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes, especially knowing it was the first time perfomed live. It was a special Christmas gift for a tour taking off at this time of year. Loved it and you!!! You've still got it going on!

Matt Whale

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

I agree with you whole-heartedly. Do not drop Little Drummer Boy. An early Merry Christmas to you too Bob!


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

With each seat being $73 a pop, was it a sell out like some people are saying it wasn't? Wish we could afford something like this and the timing was bad for us. Glad to hear it went off with a few hitches.