Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band opened a powerful, two-hour concert Friday night at the Tacoma Dome with a boisterous version of “Detroit Made,” a John Hiatt tune about cruising in a car that “goes like a shooting star.”
For Seger, a Michigan native with strong ties to the Motor City, the song was representative of the heartland rock that has been his trademark since the early 1970s.
Though the show was packed with Seger’s greatest hits, the set included several new songs that will be featured on the raspy-voiced rocker’s next album, due in August.
In addition to “Detroit Made,” the show included “California Stars,” a Wilco-Billy Bragg song featuring lyrics by Woody Guthrie, and “All the Roads,” a moving autobiographical tune. They were among the surprises in a high-energy concert that was the latest stop on Seger’s “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” tour.
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Seger even rolled out his 1986 hit, “Like A Rock” — featured in a long-running ad campaign for Chevy trucks — for the first time in years. Like so many songs in the show, it prompted a spirited singalong from the massive crowd of longtime fans.
Performing slide guitar on the song was Rob McNelley, a Nashville session guitarist who has added fresh blood to a Silver Bullet lineup that includes such stellar veterans as bassist Chris Campbell and saxophonist Alto Reed (Reed thrilled the crowd with his famous sax intro for the Seger classic, “Turn the Page”).
The band also featured pianist Craig Frost, drummer Don Brewer (of Grand Funk Railroad) and guitarist and keyboardist Jim “Moose” Brown, as well as the four-member Motor City Horns and three female background singers.
Seger, dressed entirely in black, appeared re-energized and ready to begin a new chapter in his long career, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and piano with newfound enthusiasm.
The set spanned decades, from “Mainstreet,” “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Travelin’ Man” and “Beautiful Loser” to “Sunspot Baby” and “Katmandu,” which brought the main set to an explosive finish. Other gems included “Come to Poppa” and Otis Shaw’s soul classic, “Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You.”
The show concluded with powerful, crowd-pleasing encores featuring four of Seger’s most famous songs: “Against the Wind,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Night Moves” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”
Opening the concert was singer-guitarist Joe Walsh, who played such classics as “The Bomber,” “Life’s Been Good” and “Rocky Mountain Way” and proved he hasn’t lost his touch as a rock ‘n’ roll guitarist.
Gene Stout: firstname.lastname@example.org.