Bob Seger brings Old Time Rock & Roll to Glendale, AZ 2-19-15

With his deep, rumbling voice and blue collar look, Detroit’s Bob Seger has always been an easy man to like, managing to gather fans from every class of society to his banner, from construction workers to housewives to stock brokers. Seger has gone through many stages and multiple bands since first picking up a guitar, but the creation of the Silver Bullet Band in 1974 was the one that rocked the house, making Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band a mainstay in the world of music.

During a career spanning five decades, Seger had his first national hit in 1968 with the single “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” which led to an album of the same name in 1969. He finally achieved his commercial breakthrough with his 1976 album, Night Moves, where the title track hit #4 on the Billboard Pop Singles charts. Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, and at age sixty-nine, this musical powerhouse shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to record and perform more great Rock-n-Roll with each passing year.

Seger began another era in music on October 14, 2014, when he put out his first album in eight years and seventeenth to date, Ride Out. This past November, he kicked off his Ride Out Tour in Saginaw, Michigan, a cross-country jaunt that will last four months and will end on March 28th in Nashville, Tennessee. On Thursday, February 19th, Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band rocked their way into the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, to the delight of long awaiting fans.

As the sold out crowd made their way into the stadium, Heartless Bastards took the stage. This American Garage Rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio has a sound often compared to The Black Keys. The group consists of Erika Wennerstrom (vocals, guitar), Dave Colvin (drums), Jesse Ebaugh (bass), and Mark Nathan (guitar), and they show that they have the heart to share the stage with a veritable Rock Star. The harmonious voice of Wennerstrom, the big, meaty guitar riffs from Nathan and the distinctive, energetic drumming style of Colvin mark them as an extraordinary band with a fiery and unforgettable sound. Check out their 2012 album Arrow and see what they are all about.

At 9:00 o’clock, the lights went dim as the roars of nearly twenty thousand fans stood to greet the original Detroit badass. The massive Silver Bullet band quickly took their places as Seger made his way to the stage. Made up of Chris Campbell (bass), Alto Reed and Keith Kaminski (saxophones), Craig Frost (keyboard), Don Brewer (drums), Jim “Moose” Brown (guitar, keyboard), Bob Jenson and Mark Myerly (trumpets), John Rutherford (trombone), Deanie Richardson (fiddle, mandolin) and Shaun Murphy, Laura Creamer and Barbara Payton (backup singers) the Silver Bullet Band has been behind Seger for over forty years. Dressed in a plain black shirt, jeans and glasses and sporting snowy white hair, he looked relaxed and ready to get his hands dirty. Seger called out a simple, “Phoenix!” and then launched right into a 1983 classic, “Roll Me Away,” which immediately turned into a massive sing-along.

Just a few months shy of his seventieth birthday, Seger was no stranger to the stage. He was sporting a constant grin, continually thanked fans for coming out and let them all know how good it was to be back, all with heartfelt enthusiasm and humbleness. With his rich, raspy voice in superb form and roaring through the arena, he launched into tracks “The Fire Down Below” and “Mainstreet.” The venue immediately went crazy as fans jumped out of their seats and started dancing in the aisles. As Seger threw on a black headband and turned toward the audience, he said, “This song is about all the women and all the men that love to watch ’em,” before launching into “Her Strut.” One could almost imagine Tom Cruise skating across the stage in his underwear as the first chords of “Old Time Rock and Roll” rolled out of the speakers. He also played that first 1968 hit, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” along with “Like A Rock,” “Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser” and the melancholy love song “We’ve Got Tonight.” There was no greater response throughout the night until the sound of a familiar sax line filled the venue and announced the signature Seger anthem, “Turn the Page.” The entire crowd rose in unison with hands in the air as they watched their Rock icon deliver an honest and profound rendition of a song he has had to play live thousands of times, but performed that night in February like it was the first. The fans were in love.

Spotlighting some selections from his latest album, Ride Out, Seger showed he can still deliver the goods. Most engaging was “Hey Gypsy,” a song Seger said was inspired by the late Texas guitar hero, Stevie Ray Vaughan. “I wanted to make it sound like something Stevie would have sang,” Seger announced, before getting down to business with the heartfelt Rocking Blues song. He also played “The Devil’s Right Hand,” a Steve Earle cover, and “Detroit Made,” all from Ride Out.

Once the main set had ended, Seger and the band left momentarily, only to come back out a couple of minutes later and launch into back to back encores. Wrapping things up a full two hours after taking the stage, Seger and his trusty thirteen piece band closed the evening’s festivities with “Against the Wind,” the 1976 hit “Night Moves,” and the fitting “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” such an apropos sentiment to leave with his faithful followers at the end of a true night of good old Rock-n-Roll music.

Seger is like a bottle of wine, he simply gets better with age. Taking a working class approach to music with a heart of gold, Seger is a true American Rock treasure. It is no wonder Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band’s live performances have led to record sales in excess of fifty-two million including thirteen platinum and seven multi-platinum RIAA-certified album sales awards. With that said, the tour continues through the end of March, so do not delay, get out and tap into a piece of history.

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