Bob Seger has released a small amount of new product since he last toured in 2006-07 -- four new songs on 2009's "Early Seger Vol. 1" and his recently released version of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train."
But the Detroit rocker promises that his new road trip, which gets underway Saturday, March 26, in Toledo and comes home May 17 and 19 (so far) at the Palace of Auburn Hills, will be more than just a redux of that previous outing.
"There will be a lot of changes to the show. A lot," says Seger, 65, adding that, "I can't tell you any of those because I want it to be a surprise. But we've worked on a lot of stuff, and there will be some changes in the show."
By that, Seger says, he means he and his Silver Bullet Band will be "just doing some different songs than we did last time. Some different old songs that we...haven't done for years, as a matter of fact. We've got 34 songs so far, and I think at a max we can do 25 in a show, and I keep working them up.
"That's the fun for me is changing the show a little bit. We're just trying to surprise some people who will say, 'Oh, wow, I forgot he did that.' "
Seger, who put his band through its paces at Kid Rock's warehouse facility in Clarkston and spent this week at the Palace, initially announced his intent to tour last March 26 during an on-air interview with retiring radio personality Dick Purtan. A fall tour was tentatively drawn up and some rehearsals were held, but Seger says that "we just couldn't get it together. I was trying to do an album and I just couldn't get the album done. Finally, I was like, 'OK, let's do two months and see if we like it, and that was about (10) weeks ago."
Seger -- who wrapped his last tour in March of 2007 at Cobo Arena -- adds that Punch Andrews, his Birmingham-based manager, "was kind of angry, because he wants more time than that to set it up. But I'm never going to have the record done before summer, and I don't like touring in the summer, anyway. So I said, 'We'll do April and May and a tiny bit of March, and then if we have fun, we'll go out again in the fall or something."
Seger has now "stopped dead" on the new album, which he says is "about half done," though he plans on writing more material before he returns to the studio to finish the album.
"There isn't a song on it quite like anything I've done before," says Seger, who started out working "on about 47 old, unreleased songs" but, after reviving his 1989 recording of "Downtown Train" was inspired to start writing brand new material. "I'm really making an effort to break new ground on it, that's the best I can say -- different feels, different speeds, different approaches to the stuff I do.
"It's just...different, you know? I don't know how else to explain it."
Besides "Downtown Train," Seger has also recorded a "father-daughter" song called "Hannah" that features guest appearances by Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow -- the same trio that recorded "Collide," the new single from Rock's "Born Free" album -- a track called "The Sea Inside" that he describes as "very Led Zeppelin" and "Hey Gypsy," a Texas swing-styled "homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan" that he says has a shot at being included in this spring's concerts.
Seger anticipates taking a month or so off after the tour before returning to writing and recording. For now, however, he's focused on the shows and firing the Silver Bullet machine back up for the next couple of months.
"It feels really good to me," Seger says. "It's something I haven't done now in almost four years. I started practicing with the band last fall and they sound really good, and I'm in really good shape and working hard. It's just fun, and I"m really looking forward to it."
Seger's tour itinerary includes:
March 26 - Toledo, OH - The Huntington Center
March 29 - Saginaw, MI - Arena at Dow Event Center
March 31 - Toledo, OH - The Huntington Center
April 2 - Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena
April 5 - Cincinnati, OH - U.S. Bank Arena
April 7 - Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena
April 9 - Buffalo, NY - HSBC Arena
April 12 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
April 15 - Boston, MA - TD Garden
April 16 - Atlantic City, NJ - Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
April 19 - Atlanta, GA -- Philips Arena
April 21 - Nashville, TN -- Bridgestone Arena
April 23 - Greensboro, NC -- Greensboro Coliseum
April 26 -- Little Rock, AK -- Verizon Arena
April 28 -- Tulsa, OK -- BOK Center
April 30 -- Houston, TX -- Toyota Center
May 3 -- New Orleans, LA -- New Orleans Arena
May 6 -- Kansas City, MO -- Sprint Center
May 10 -- Omaha, NE -- Qwest Center
May 12 -- St. Paul, MN -- Xcel Energy Center
May 14 - Rosemont, IL - Allstate Arena
May 17, 19 -- Auburn Hills, MI -- The Palace of Auburn Hills
Tickets for Bob Seger's May 17 and 19 concerts at the Palace of Auburn Hills go on sale Saturday, March 26. Price is $69, and there is a six ticket limit. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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