Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band Concert, Rogers Arena, Vancouver – Feb. 7, 2019
A little more than a month ago, my brothers and I travelled to Vancouver to see Bob Seger on his “Roll Me Away” farewell tour. With our work and family commitments, it hasn’t been easy to get us three boys in the same place at the same time. We were very much looking forward to this and Bob’s music is just the kind of soundtrack we needed for this reunion.
We had good seats and the acoustics at Rogers Arena are great. Bob’s voice and the band were in great form. In fact, most of his travelling band are original/long-time Silver Bullet Band members, including Shaun Murphy, Alto Reed, and bassist Chris Campbell. Alto is known for his famous saxophone solos on classic songs like “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Turn the Page,” and “Mainstreet.” He nailed every note! Shaun, Laura, and Barb provided great harmonies and percussion too. Lead guitarist Rob McNelley has the perfect R&B/Blues style of playing for Bob’s songs. The whole band was tight.
Of course, Bob led the way. Hit after hit was played for the sold-out crowd. Bob would do quick song intros and banter with the crowd for a bit, but the night was about his songs. The songs about growing up middle class, relationships, small towns, big cities, life on the road, life as a rock and roll star and just having a good time. The setlist also included “Hollywood Nights,” “Like a Rock,” “Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser,” “Night Moves,” “Against the Wind,” “Still the Same,” “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” and “You’ll Accompany Me.” The concert opener was a cover of Lou Reed’s “Busload of Faith.” Now, that’s a timely tune.
Bob Seger has had a long career. He started out in Detroit. How many of my favourite groups are from there or have a connection to the “Motor City?” Wow! Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Smokey Robinson, and Motown artists such as the Temptations. In 1968, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” was his first hit. But the release of “Live Bullet” (his first with the Silver Bullet Band), followed by the multi-platinum “Night Moves” turned a great songwriter into a superstar. (“Night Moves” title track was recorded in Toronto, at the famous Nimbus 9 Studios)! Many top 40 hits followed, and worldwide tours too.
Bob Seger has performed on movie soundtracks and recorded at the famous Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama. He has also written well known songs for some other well-known musicians (The Eagles, Thin Lizzy, etc.) Bob’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He even won the Bayview Mackinac Sailboat Race!
And who could forget the Chevy truck ads on television featuring “Like a Rock?”
Bob Seger has a lot of charisma on stage and it’s the songs he’s wrote and performed over the years that have sustained his popularity. The piano, the saxophone, the guitars. The melodies and the lyrics that fans love singing along too. At 73 years young, he’s still rocking, one of the all-time greats.
The Rogers Arena show was the only Canadian stop on this tour (so far). My youngest brother lives in British Columbia, so it made sense for my middle brother and I to fly in from Ontario and enjoy a rock concert with him. Believe it or not it’s the first time all three of us attended a concert together, and we are all 40-ish. My brothers attended the famous “SARS-stock” concert for Toronto. Derrick joined me to see George Thorogood at Massey Hall a few years ago. Rob and I saw KISS back in ’98. We also enjoyed some great meals and hiking through Stanley park and along the Vancouver Sea Wall.
One of Bob Seger’s many hits was “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” Well, the Kelly boys won’t soon forget this great concert. When I hear his songs on the radio, I think of my brothers.