Any concert-going vet of the ’70s and early ’80s can attest to the energy that a Bob Seger concert sparks. He would routinely fill a 50,000-plus venue and keep everyone on their feet. Paul Stanley of Kiss even said that, back in 1976 when Seger and his Silver Bullet Band were the opening act, Seger raised the bar for Kiss’ performance every night. Backstage, the guys from Kiss would listen to the crowd roar, which would force them to up their game. (And Seger was doing it without benefit of fire breathing and space suits!)
In the past couple of decades, Seger hasn’t toured like he used to—and there’s talk that his current round might be his last. So catch him while you can at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on April 16. Yeah, the hair is gray (but, then again, you’ll see a lot more of that in the audience!), the voice has rasped down a few notches, and Seger sits on a stool several times during the show while he plays acoustic guitar. But the man has still got it, and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth: 25 songs spread over more than two-and-a-half hours, with two encores and just an eight-minute intermission between sets.
And talk about a catalog of songs to choose from! It’s early in the tour and, so far, the setlist has remained fairly stable. But no one will be disappointed with “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” “Nutbush City Limits,” and songs in movies and on jukeboxes everywhere, like “Rock & Roll Never Forgets.” (FYI: Seger has been switching up the words of that last one to the more age-accurate “sweet 16 turns 65.”) He’s also been doing a song never before performed onstage called “Shinin’ Brightly” from Against the Wind and adding his version of the Tom Waits song “Downtown Train,” which he actually recorded way back when but never released. (The rumor still floats that Seger played the song for Rod Stewart, who then appropriated it for himself. A newly recorded version is part of the album that Seger’s currently working on.)
With a 14-piece band that includes his main sax man, Alto Reed of the Motor City Horns, along with Don Brewer of Grand Funk fame on drums and three backup singers, including Shaun Murphy from Little Feat, there’s plenty of music being made onstage. And Seger’s been making friends at each locale by sporting the appropriate baseball jersey. (He’s stocked up on plenty of headbands, too, tossing the sweat-soaked ones out to the frenzied audiences.) And guess who’s the opening act for the A.C. show: Philadelphia’s own The Hooters!
No lasers. No light shows. No props. Just straight-ahead pure rock ‘n’ roll, Detroit style. That’s what you get with Bob Seger. And that is plenty good.
When: April 16. Tickets say 8 p.m., but the shows have been running 8:40-11 p.m.
Where: Boardwalk Hall, 2301 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J.
Tickets: $73 and up. (An elaborate floor package costing $868 will get you a limo, dinner, drinks and gifts.) Visit ticketmaster.com.