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Bob Seger gives The Palace a famous final scene
AUBURN HILLS -- Starting with an "Alright Palace, one last time, let's go!" Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band closed the 29-year-old arena's run as a concert venue with an exuberant and at times emotional final show on Saturday night, Sept. 23.
The show marked Seger's 17th sellout at the Palace, where he started playing during March of 1996, when he set a record for most sellouts by an artist during one tour (six). He was also a Detroit Pistons season ticket holder with center court lower bowl seats, and made guest appearances there with Billy Joel and Don Henley.
The sense of occasion was not lost on Seger. Before, appropriately, "Turn The Page," he remembered some personal highlights from the Palace, including a 1988 concert by Michael Jackson, seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan sit in with Eric Clapton about a month before the former's death in an August 1990 helicopter crash and lording the Pistons' 1989 championship over Jack Nicholson, a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan, when the actor was in town filming his starring role in "Hoffa."
"What a great building this has been for 27 years, oh my goodness," Seger -- who, to be fair, is a songwriter, not a mathematician -- told the 17,000 at the Palace on Saturday. "So many great shows, I can't remember all of them...The people we've seen. The shows we've seen...Thanks for everything, Palace. We love ya."
Before an encore version of "Night Moves," meanwhile, he again paid tribute to the building, saying "It's been a great 27 years. We've seen some shows, haven't we? Thank you, Palace."
And after the encores the crowd stayed and watched a video of Palace sports and entertainment highlights, set to Seger's "The Famous Final Scene," with rapt attention while Seger himself beelined out of the building.
The Palace, which won numerous awards and was regarded as an industry trendsetter after it opened during August of 1988, is expected to be torn down once the property is sold, with Detroit's just-opened Little Caesars Arena -- which hosted its first Detroit Red Wings game on Saturday night and will also be the new home for the Pistons -- carrying the load from here on out.
Fans gathered early in the Palace parking lot, while past and current Palace employees -- including former Pistons arena announcer Ken Calvert and former President and CEO Tom Wilson, who spearheaded the construction of both the Palace and Little Caesars Arena -- reunited at a reception before the show and in a party suite in the Palace rafters during the show. The current Palace regime, meanwhile, saluted Seger with a large banner backstage reading "Thank You Bog Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Final Bullet At The Palace, September 21, 2017," and with a "Final Bullet at the Palace cake at an afterparty.
Saturday's show was filmed as well, but no plans for the footage have yet been announced.
As if closing the Palace wasn't special enough, the show marked the MIchigan debut of Seger's new single, "Busload Of Faith," which he released on Friday, Sept. 22, in advance of his new album "I Knew You When," which comes out Nov. 17. Seger revealed that the album will be "dedicated to my great friend from Royal Oak, Glenn Frey," of the Eagles, who died during January of 2016. Seger added that while making the album he "thought about other people" in music who have passed away recently and merited "minor dedications," including Reed.
Seger and company will continue their Runaway Train Tour through the new album's release date and are expected to go out again during 2018, though no dates have yet been announced.
Opening Saturday's show, meanwhile, was Roadcase Royale, the new band from Heart's Ann Wilson. The strong 40-minute set included originals from the sextet's just-released debut album "First Things First," as well as Heart favorites such as "What About Love," "These Dreams," "Straight On" and "Crazy On You."
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