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Bob Seger rocks Saginaw in new tour opener
SAGINAW -- Metro Detroit may be home, but Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band have something special going on with Saginaw and the Dow Event Center, too.
It was there, after all, that Seger’s return-to-the-road tour in the spring of 2012 really achieved liftoff. And it proved to be an appropriate place for the robust opener of the new tour supporting his “Ride Out” album on Wednesday night, Nov. 19.
The crowd that packed the Dow proved to be enthusiastic and sympathetic, deliriously happy to have Seger and company back in town and not the type of fans who not only braved the unseasonable chill and first major snowfall but also didn’t use the new songs as an excuse for a bathroom or beer (or both) break. And Seger, dressed in his usual black T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, gave them plenty of fresh material, too -- a generous six songs from “Ride Out,” replacing concert staples such as “Sunspot Baby” and “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” but bringing a vitality and freshness that clearly bolstered Seger and the Silver Bullets throughout the 23-song, two-hour and 10-minute show.
The group had a little more firepower for those songs, too, swelling to 15 on stage at some points with the full complement of Motor City Horns and new arrival Deanie Richardson, a Nashville veteran whose fiddle served the rootsy flavor of “Ride Out” songs such as the Wilco/Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie creation “California Stars,” “The Fireman’s Talkin’,” Steve Earle’s “The Devil’s Right Hand” and the pensive, enthusiastically received “Gates of Eden.”
Meanwhile, rockers such as “Hey Gypsy,” which Seger wrote during the early 90s for Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Hiatt’s “Detroit Made” sat nicely alongside established favorites such as “The Fire Down Below,” “Come to Poppa” and “Her Strut,” and Seger introduced the Hiatt track with an “apology to my good friends in Flint,” noting that the Buick 225 that’s the song’s subject was actually made there and not in Detroit. “But you know what we mean,” Seger added.
In strong throughout the show -- though the first-show physical wear and tear was evident during the encores -- Seger was chatty throughout, talking about the inspirations for the new songs and giving props to “Come to Poppa” co-songwriter Willie Mitchell. Before “We’ve Got Tonight,” Seger also told the crowd about sending his mother and aunt on a vacation to Hawaii and getting a call that they heard his music “with a big symphony orchestra...on the elevator.”
The show featured plenty of Seger staples, too, including the opening “Roll Me Away,” the Alto Reed showcase favorites “Mainstreet” and “Turn the Page,” the bulletproof “Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser” medley and the familiar encore quartet of “Against The Wind,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Night Moves” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” There were some minor feedback issues and onstage miscommunications, but those were indeed easy to forget during another memorable night for Seger in his home state.
The “Ride Out” tour continues Saturday, Nov. 22, in Bangor, Maine, and has dates booked into late February, including stops in Grand Rapids (Dec. 9) and Toledo (Jan. 20). Detroit area shows are expected to be announced soon. Seger’s full opening night setlist included:
Roll Me Away
Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You
The Fire Down Below
The Devil’s Right Hand
Old Time Rock & Roll
The Fireman’s Talkin’
Come to Poppa
Like a Rock
Gates of Eden
We’ve Got Tonight
Turn the Page
Against the Wind
Rock and Roll Never Forgets
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