Bob Seger expects his four shows at The Palace of Auburn Hills in the next 11 days to “be a lot of fun for us.”
Which is kind of like saying a football fans would be merely “pleased” if the Detroit Lions ever made it to the Super Bowl.
When Seger and his Silver Bullet Band hit The Palace stage tonight — with subsequent shows Friday and Dec. 28 and 30 — it will be a fullfledged civic event and a Detroit rock ’n’ roll throwdown that fans in the metro area have waited for — 10 years, four months and 21 days, to be exact, since he closed his last tour at the then-Pine Knob Music Theatre.
Despite the emergence of Eminem, Kid Rock and the White Stripes in recent years, Seger remains Detroit’s all-time rock hero, and the community has kept Seger’s legend alive even during a prolonged absence while he concentrated on raising his son, Cole, 14, and daughter, Samantha, 11.
He knows, of course, that “nobody knows our stuff better than Detroit,” and he and the rest of the Silver Bullets are aware of the high expectations for this batch of homecoming shows.
“It’s a big challenge,” Seger, 61, acknowledges. “I think people (in the band) are nervous. Everyone who’s from (Detroit) in the band is nervous about it because they’re going to have so many friends and family and all that.
“I think once we get one under our belt, we’re gonna be OK.”
The excitement surrounding the concerts is “an unstated thing” among the 12 Silver Bullet Band members, according to guitaristkeyboardist Jim “Moose” Brown. But he says it’s also unavoidable.
“Bob is just so huge in that area, and the people love him so much,” says Brown, who was born in Dearborn and raised in Beverly Hills until his family moved to Arkansas when he was 14. “Bob Seger is their son. It’s a very cool thing. So you can just feel the electricity surrounding these dates.”
Fans hope another proud “Son of Detroit,” Kid Rock, will join Seger and company at one or more of The Palace shows to re-create their duet of Vince Gill’s Merle Haggard tribute “Real Mean Bottle,” which appears on Seger’s new album, “Face the Promise.”
“You never know with him,” says Seger, who joined Kid Rock for encores at his two pre-Super Bowl XL concerts in February at Joe Louis Arena. “I even asked Punch (Andrews, who manages both artists), ‘Is (Rock) gonna surprise me?’ He said, ‘If he does, he will!’ ”
Seger says the band is ready whenever Rock is. “We’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. We play (‘Real Mean Bottle’) at sound check. We have to be on our toes, ’cause you never know when he’s gonna show up.”
There also are unconfi rmed reports that The Palace shows may be recorded and fi lmed. “Probably the best place to do it would be Detroit, ’cause we’re gonna do four nights,” Seger says, but if it happens, it’s more likely to be done at next week’s concerts.
The tour, which kicked off Nov. 8 in Grand Rapids, has so far played to 229,891 fans in 17 previous shows. Tickets for The Palace shows are sold out, although an auction for premium seats through Ticketmaster is commanding prices of $200 or more above the $62.50 face value. Joel Schwartz of the Big Time Worldwide ticket brokerage company in Southfield says demand has been “fairly strong,” with tonight’s show drawing the most interest.
After The Palace, the tour resumes Jan. 6 in Orlando, Fla., and is booked until March 3 in Las Vegas. Seger has said it will end March 15 to accommodate drummer Don Brewer’s need to return to Grand Funk Railroad. As for whether he’ll play the Detroit area again before that, Seger says ... maybe.
“We’ve missed some plays just because of me trying to limit it, somewhat, and because of the Don Deadline,” he said. “There’s so many different ways we can go from Vegas, so we just don’t know what we’re gonna do.”
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band and Steve Azar perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 20) and Dec. 28 and at 8 p.m. Friday and Dec. 30 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Lapeer Road east of Interstate 75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are sold out, but some premium seats for each show are being auctioned at www. ticketmaster.com. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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