Saturday Night: Bob Seger At Toyota Center

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Photos by Jay Lee
Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
Toyota Center
April 30, 2011

If Saturday night was supposed to be Bob Seger's final farewell to Houston on what is reported to be his last go-round through the country as a performer, then he picked a stellar set list: 25 songs full of history, reaching back to his first stirrings as a Detroit rocker in 1968 all the way to his newest single, a cover of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train" recorded in 1989, to serve as his Space City epitaph.

Even Rocks Off was floored by the width and size of his setlist, or how many songs he knew by heart, from growing up in a Seger house, or just fiddling with the radio. Guys like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and The Eagles are his contemporaries, but it has always seemed to us that it was Seger who was doing the real heavy lifting, devoid of Hollywood contacts and the attitudes that come with them.

Funny enough, Seger acted as Glenn Frey's mentor early on in the future Eagle's career, and Don Henley and Frey would assist on Seger albums down the line. We're talking about the Eagles mostly when we talk about coke-bloated excess, with Bruce just being so damned lovable that he can put out middling albums and make up for it with a physically-draining and God-like live show.

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Silver Bullet saxophonist Alto Reed
Opening with "Roll Me Away" from 1982's The Distance, Seger and his Silver Bullet Band took control over the venue with pure rock and rhythm-and-blues force. Not until you actually see Seger and his brood live do you understand the gravity of his influence on rock for the past 45 years.

Seger puts on the same sort of show the Boss does, defying the physics of his nearly 66-year old frame and the whispers of failing health. If anything on Sunday night he was acting a fraction of his age, punching the air like he was working a speed bag and jumping on a trampoline only he could see.

Seger seems to have always attracted those beautiful losers he sings about. Blame those everyman looks and the unabashedly stalwart voice in a catalog that rarely gets goofy or sarcastic, traits that people would rather leave at the door when they turn on a Seger record. Just listen to his "U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)" from 1976's Live Bullet to hear him poke fun at what would be his calling card a decade or so later.

Location Info

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Toyota Center

1510 Polk, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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4 comments
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Kristi Rivera
Kristi Rivera

I saw the show too Saturday night and reviewed it for the Examiner. I think your review was spot on. His no frills shows really showcase just the music. Alto Reed was a complete standout, as well as Mark Chatfield, as usual. The length and energy throughout the show was definitely reminiscent of Springsteen's legendary performances. And nice work on the beautiful loser comment.

Arip42
Arip42

He, Bob Seger, referred to Houston, Texas many times and just TEXAS in general thru-out the show. That was nice of him. Used it in a few of his tunes. Classic entertainer from beginning to end. Thanks for the songs and memories, Bob.

Kristi Rivera
Kristi Rivera

Yes, he did. Still running against that Texas wind... Great, great show.

Mark
Mark

Great review as usual, Craig. I thought this was one of the best I'd ever seen. Maybe because of how long I waited to see him and how strong some of his songs are, but it was just so good. I loved how long the set was too. Travelin Man ~ Beautiful Loser was the highlight for me. I wanted to see that 1-2 punch before I died, and I finally did.

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