Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band with The Record Company at Rogers Arena, 2/7/19
Fans showed up in groups that spanned generations to celebrate classic rock legend Bob Seger’s final tour on Thursday.
They came with their partners, parents, siblings, and even grandchildren to revel in the golden age of rock and roll and sing along to a catalogue of hits from a career that has spanned over 50 years. As an added bonus, it was also a great excuse to spend $45 on a t-shirt with a silver-winged eagle.
The biggest Bob Seger fans might have been members of opening act, L.A.’s The Record Company, who successfully charmed early arrivals with a 30-minute set of blues-infused rock songs.
After the intermission, the lights dimmed, the smoke machine whirred and drummer Greg Morrow raised his arms to count some 18,000 cheering fans in as the 73-year young music icon marched onto the stage, took the microphone in both hands and rolled right into his catalogue of greatest hits.
Behind him, 14 very accomplished musicians gave him all the support he needed. They included a trio of vocalists, a hefty selection of horned instruments, and a handful of longtime Silver Bullet Band Members.
Seger was in fine form, and by the time he launched into mega-hit “Old Time Rock and Roll.” Almost the entire stadium was on their feet.
There were a few times when Seger’s notoriously raspy howl faltered in the higher registers, and in those moments that perfect blend of smoky smooth wails was sorely missed. Though it didn’t dampen the mood of the evening, it was a gentle reminder that this is indeed a farewell tour.
Seger was clearly enjoying himself, a big jowly grin glued to his face as he patrolled the stage, acknowledging and grooving with fans in the upper bowl at regular intervals. Like a true gentleman, he also made time to give his talented bandmates some time in the spotlight.
The performance was essentially one hit song after another with “Turn the Page” emerging as a clear crowd favourite. Another high point was a heartfelt cover of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” which doubled as a tribute to longtime friend Glenn Frey and several other rock and roll greats that have left this world. Fans also showed support for the breezy ballad “You’ll Accompany Me,” followed by “We’ve Got Tonight”, a song that Seger revealed was his mom’s favourite and which has been on the set list every time he’s hit the stage since her passing.
Seger left the stage after performing “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” a song from very early in his career, which made a near perfect closing for a tour dubbed “Travelin’ Man Farewell Tour.”
Fans were having none of it, though. Seger returned to the stage after just a few minutes and sat down center stage with his acoustic guitar to sing “Against the Wind.” Then he rose and followed that with a rowdy version of “Hollywood Nights” before exiting for a second time.
By this time section hardcore fans were going hoarse calling for their favourite Bob Seger song. Several minutes later he obliged, and delivered what was arguably the most anticipated hit of the evening. After that, there was only one thing left to do. Seger ripped into “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” and those fans were on their feet, singing every word along with him.