By: Julia Luciw
The Palace of Auburn Hills on the evening of Thursday, March 11th, was completely full for the first hometown show from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. It was their return to the Palace and the crowd wanted to experience just why rock n’ roll never does forget on this tour. It was my first time experiencing Seger with my family and what an absolute treat it was!
First off, the Seger camp picked former Eagles member Joe Walsh to open the show for them. Walsh was absolutely incredible with his guitar playing, commanding our attention on stage. He opened up his forty-five minute set with “Walk away” from the James Gang. He then said how honored he was to be playing with Bob. He spoke about how this was the first time he had been back in Detroit and loved it. Walsh then played “Unknown Son,” a song from his latest album Analog Man.
The crowd went absolutely wild when he played another famous James Gang tune, the great “Funk #49.” He apologized in advance if any kids from back in the seventies heyday played this song over and over again, driving their parent’s nuts! Walsh then played a slew of classic solo hits including “In the City,” “Turn to Stone,” and “Life’s been good.” I do have to give huge props to his stellar touring band.
To end out the show, Walsh performed one of my favorites from his Barnstorm era. It of course was “Rocky Mountain Way.” Walsh really delivered, going out a perfect way using the talk box. It added a cool, psychedelic feel to it. I have never seen a musician use one in concert before so that was great to watch! All in all, Walsh’s set created a mood of excitement that would carry over to Bob Seger, an artist Walsh calls “a national treasure.”
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band blistered onto the stage with a raucous version of “Long Twin Silver Line,” clearly happy to be back home. I think one of the most touching stories of the night came courtesy of seventy-nine year old Evie Branan, a woman who woke up from a five year long coma and wanted to see Seger. She got her wish and he even dedicated “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” to her. Hearing that song in concert was amazing; no matter how many times I’ve heard it on the radio or seen Tom Cruise dance in his underwear in Risky Business.
I loved that Seger introduced us to all his band members, including Silver Bullet alums Chris Campbell, Craig Frost, and the incomparable Alto Reed. Reed was probably my favorite member and played hot all night long! I also have to give it up to newcomer and Nashville guitarist Rob McNelley. The band played through so many classic songs that it’s hard to pick highlights! I certainly enjoyed the nod back to Live Bullet, recorded back at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Seger and band played through “Travelin’ Man” right into “Beautiful Loser” flawlessly.
I was absolutely stunned when Seger played “Like a Rock.” Apparently, he hadn’t played that song in over twenty-seven years. It was nice to hear Seger premiere two new tracks; “All the Roads” and “California Stars” from his upcoming album. The rest of the evening consisted of acoustic guitar tunes as well as Seger taking to the piano to deliver “We’ve got tonight,” “Mainstreet,” and “Against the wind.” I loved the R & B number Seger performed called “Come to Poppa.” The light show during the concert was very effective and on this one in particular, the kettle drums were used with the drummer’s shadow being projected onto the wall.
One of the most famous songs that the crowd went wild for was the iconic “Turn the Page.” Everyone knew the words and sang along with it. Plus, hearing Alto Reed play the beginning sax part is something I will never forget. The show ended with two encores and an audience that wasn’t ready to go home yet. The songs included “Night Moves,” “Hollywood Nights,” and “Rock and Roll never forgets.”
Seger is absolutely amazing at sixty-seven years old. He danced all night long, his singing was spot on, he was intense, powerful, gritty, and energetic. He encouraged the audience to sing along and was very interactive with them. It was a solid show all around and I’m sure Saturday’s show will be just as great. I loved every minute of it and would recommend getting out there to see this Michigan native and legend now!