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Published: Friday, 4/1/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Sold out Huntington Center crowd goes home happy

Bob Seger storms Toledo again

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Bob Seger digs into one of the songs from his 26-song set Thursday night at the Huntington Center. Bob Seger digs into one of the songs from his 26-song set Thursday night at the Huntington Center.
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If Thursday night’s show at the Huntington Center was the last one forever in Toledo from Bob Seger, then he went out with his knees pumping with the energy of a far younger man, a huge smile plastered on his silver bearded mug as the Silver Bullet Band hammered away on “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”

His voice was in fine form, he tinkered with his set list a bit from Saturday’s Toledo show and Seger — who made some noise before the tour about retiring if his 66-year-old body can’t take the toll of performing — seemed a long way from winding down.

The place was pandemonium after the two hour and 15 sold-out show as he expertly guided the crowd and his band through a nostalgic hits-laden 26-song set that featured a few good-natured flubs.

He announced “Her Strut” as being from the “Night Moves” album before launching into the song’s grinding, horn-driven groove. The song is from “Against the Wind,” which Seger noted when it was over, mentioning that a reviewer had noticed a similar “screw up” from a previous show.

“That’s a senior moment for you right there,” he said, laughing.

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band play at the Huntington Center for the second time in a week. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band play at the Huntington Center for the second time in a week.
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Coming from a tradition of singer/songwriters like Bruce Springsteen or Band-era Bob Dylan who take the road with a big, loud and limber band that muscles up already exceptionally good songs, Seger was confident enough to tweak some arrangements to pump new life into his music.

“Old Time Rock And Roll” was given a fresh twist as a rock thumper thanks to the inventive soloing from former Godz guitarist Mark Chatfield. “Come To Poppa” delivered horny funk, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” was swaggering garage rock, and one of the encore tunes, “Hollywood Nights” came as a full-on rave-up that was one of the highlights of the show.

Seger’s the kind of frontman who seems wired into the music at a primal level. He knows where every beat and accent are in each song, gesturing with his hands and directing the 14-person band as he prowls the stage.

And his lyrics plug directly into the lives of his fans. It was fascinating listening to 8,000 people singing along to the road ballad “Turn The Page.” The song is a very specific story of a rocker reconciling his life in the spotlight with the grind of touring and you wonder, what’s to relate to? It’s safe to say that very few people know what it’s like to front a band and then go to bed at night “with the echoes of the amplifiers ringing in your head.”

Seger is all smiles during his return to Toledo. Seger is all smiles during his return to Toledo.
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But the song is an anthem for Seger and his fans, perhaps because at its core it’s a story about alienation and feeling like a perpetual outsider, something the Detroit-area rocker knows well from his early years grinding it out long before anyone outside Michigan or Ohio knew his name. Alto Reed’s lonely saxophone riff that gives the song it’s emotional heft cut through the quiet of the Huntington Center to chilling effect.

It was followed by the playful my-baby-did-me-so-wrong romp of “Sunspot Baby” in the expertly paced set and the melancholy of “Turn the Page” was swept away with the sly humor of lines like “She left me here stranded like a dog out in the yard/Charged up a fortune on my credit card.”

Seger added two songs to the setlist compared to Saturday’s show — “Shinin’ Brightly” from “Against The Wind” and “Real Mean Bottle” from his most recent album, “Face the Promise” — and didn’t play “Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight.”

By the time the concert was over, Seger looked like the triumphant host of a great houseparty who’s a long way from any senior moments. He’s a guy you root for because you figure he’s out there rooting for you, too. Let’s hope he comes back around sometime soon because we’ll miss him when he’s gone.

Contact Rod Lockwood at rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.



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