by Kent Sterling
Last night, my wife and I brought our son Ryan to see Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. We did it because he needs to see a man who truly enjoys his job.
There are very few times in life that we get to see a man do exactly what he was meant to do – and know it. So many people roll through life avoiding their true talent because of money, expedience, or a perplexing aversion to success or happiness.
Bob Seger is a songwriter and performer. When discussions of who should be on the Mount Rushmore of American music, or even rock music, Bob Seger is rarely mentioned. As I watched the show last night, the quality of his songs was striking. I always hated “Like a Rock” because it was on Chevy commercial four times an hour for a decade. Listening to the entire thing live last night was a revelation. It’s an amazingly frank recollection of youth by a man who is now confronted by the physical failures age brings with it.
At a time when every concert is a choreographed show, Seger bucks that evolution of live acts by simply playing his songs with an excellent band. The star of the concert is the canon of Seger’s compositions.
His performance level, as always, is unique. The pseudo-dancing is just like the songs – an expression of the joy Seger feels about life.
Life is filled with opportunities to compromise dreams, loves, and joys. Few of us have the stones to live life doing exactly those things that ring true to us. While parents try to make sure their kids get a great education through traditional means, going to a show like the one Ryan got a chance to see last night will benefit him for decades – as it did me.
What we should do guides us in decisions, and if we are lucky what we should do and who we are intersect as they have for Seger.
As far as where he stands in the pantheon of American songwriters, listen to “Night Moves”, “Hollywood No-ights’, “Main Street”, “Turn the Page”, “Fire Down Below”, and the rest of his catalogue, and then judge for yourself. I would list him with Dylan, Wilson, and Springsteen.
Whatever Seger is, people who see him live have no doubt who he is. We should all strive to live a life as true as he has.
Bob Seger shows in the past few years have been a lesson in how to maintain dignity in rock and roll – and play as a soundtrack to anyone who grew up listening to rock and roll the past 35 years. He does it with a canon of songs that are unduly underrated. As a touchstone of what rock and roll is about, it is a shame he gets lost in the sea of conversation about Led Zep, Jimi Hendrix and Dylan as cultural icons. Seger is as important any of those in his influence as a Chuck-berry-based, soul-flavored, gravel-voiced Midwest rock and roller. And he when he plays all those great songs at a show, it is unmistakeably the sound of Bob Seger – instantly recognizable. I love it when he doe “Roll Me Away”…
Well said! An admiring Seger fan for many years gives you two thumbs high in the air. I truly love the man’s music and I believe this comes from the genuine truth that is so evidently interwoven within his music. His passion for what he does no doubt allows this truth to happen! Happy Seger listening.
Saw Joe Walsh and Bob Seger for the first time last night (4-5-13). Great show by both men! Really enjoyed it and everyone around me did also. It has always amazed me how these performers can do these same songs, for 30 plus years and still show some energy doing it. They both did though. I admire them for this. It was great to see many of the younger generation there also. I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to seeing them both.
I saw Seger two night before you did in Denver-my third time and I think this was the best one yet. His songs are timeless- and I love the fact he is so utterly without pretention. His shirt was something the guy at Walmart could’ve been wearing. And the headband isn’t exactly a fashion must. But he loves his job; realizes he is living the dream. The Silver Bullet Band has always been the best backup band in the biz- an equal to the E Street Band in my opinion..but this time his new guitarist was fabulous. Never heard of him- but he was spot on. Fantastic night.
Being a fan for 40 years, seeing my first Bob Seger concert in 1973, I just wanted to say what a great article this is and you hit it spot on. I always felt the same as you wrote. I kissed my first girl to a Seger song, my first car had his music on the 8 track, took my wife on our first date to his concert, my sister and I listened to his music as she died from cancer, took my kids to every tour he has ever had since 1991 and I am proud to say his music has been the sound track to my life and experiences. I could not have picked a better person to follow and be a fan of. He has always told the truth, never embarrassed himself and always held himself to a very high standard. God Bless you Bob and thanks for all the memories! See ya Saturday…
Wonderful responses to the article & the impact that Bob Seger has had on thousands of us through his music & his character. I feel the same way you do Doug
& I’ve tried to be as honest with my musical efforts because of guys like Mr Seger. Terrific to know that Bob’s still got it !