Saturday Night: Bob Seger At Toyota Center

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.

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.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty