Quicken Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
12 Dec. 2006
Classic rock fans in Cleveland got their Christmas gift nine days early as Bob Seger rolled into town last Saturday evening and gave an outstanding show. Backed by, amongst others, long time Silver Bullet Band members Chris Campbell (bass), Alto Reed (saxes), and Craig Frost (keyboards), the almost sixty-two year old Detroit rock icon showed that he still had it in front of a sold out enthusiastic audience.
His two-hour plus show was divided into two sets separated by a very short intermission. The first set opened with “Roll Me Away” from 1982’s The Distance, and “Trying to Live My Life Without You” from 1981 live album Nine Tonight. It would feature a mix of new songs from his current Face the Promise album, mixed with Seger standards like “Main Street” and “Old Time Rock and Roll.”
Amongst the new tunes in the first set were “Wreck this Heart,” “Wait for Me,” and “No Matter Who You Are.” All sounded at home in and around the rest of the songs, including the ones over thirty years old.
Highlights of the first half of the show included Seger taking a turn at the piano and doing “We’ve Got Tonight,” followed by “Turn the Page,” complete with Alto Reed’s wailing sax solos. The first set ended with Seger remarking that he couldn’t believe Live Bullet (his landmark 1975 double live album) was thirty-one years old then playing the “Traveling Man/Beautiful Loser” medley. Guitarist Mark Chatfield handled the guitar segue between the two songs masterfully.
Also backing Seger throughout the evening were a four-piece horn section, three background singers (including Little Feat’s Shaun Murphy), and Grand Funk Railroad’s Don Brewer on the drums.
The second half of the show featured three more songs from his new album including “Simplicity,” which opened the set; “Real Mean Bottle” (which he does as a duet with Kid Rock on the album, drummer Don Brewer subbed admirably); and “The Answer’s in the Question” (with background singer Barbara Payton subbing for Patty Loveless who also duets on the album).
The show ended with a rapid fire string of Seger classics, including “Sun Spot Baby,” “Horizontal Bop,” and “Katmandu.” Also included was a rowdy live version of Chuck Berry’s “C’est La Vie” (say the Old Folks),” which first surfaced on Seger’s Greatest Hits Volume One CD in 1994.
The encores included “Night Moves,” “Hollywood Nights,” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”
Seger and the band looked relaxed, enthusiastic, and happy to be there throughout the whole show. The band garb featured predominately jeans and t-shirts, while the staging was also a no frills affair without any big screens, smoke machines, or pyrotechnics. It was just straight ahead rock and roll delivered by one of the true masters of the art and his talented and well-seasoned band, in front of an audience that truly appreciated every minute of it.