To wrap up a musical career that has spanned over 50 years, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s final tour made a stop in Columbus Saturday night. The best way to describe the two-hour setlist was the kind of music that soothes the soul — an homage to his Detroit roots in blues and rock and roll, and a refreshing departure from the pop and electronic music topping the charts today.
Honestly, I think our parents were on to something with the kind of music they loved when they were our age. Watching 73-year-old Seger and his star-studded band flow through songs effortlessly and energetically was inspiring. After decades of performing, the Silver Bullets knew how to impress a packed arena without missing a beat.
I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of songs that were nostalgic and familiar to me. I anticipated hits like “Night Moves” and “Old Time Rock and Roll,” but hadn’t realized that I’d absorbed songs like “Hollywood Nights,” “Against the Wind,” “Mainstreet” and “Like a Rock” through subconscious osmosis due to my dad, who is the biggest Bob Seger fan I know.
Seger and his band sounded great — the setlist provided generous solo space for all of his talented backup singers and bandmates to showcase their individual skills. He introduced his 14-piece band at the end of the show, and it was impressive how many of them were talented musicians, singers and songwriters in their own right.
I love a good concert where the performers can capture an entire crowd without the use of flashy effects, choreography or costumes — Seger wore jeans, a black t-shirt, and a sweatband to keep his floppy white hair off his face, and lighting and stage design was minimal. They were all just there to have fun and focus on their music.
This was my first time seeing Seger live, as the peak of his career happened 20 years before I was born, but it seemed to me that he sounded just as good as he would have in the 70s. I have developed this kind of morbid fervor to witness as many musical greats in concert as I possibly can before they’re done touring or are not alive — Phil Collins and Fleetwood Mac were two of my 2018 concert highlights — and Seger’s show definitely lived up to the high bar set by Stevie Nicks, who I’m pretty sure is a sorceress that is aging backwards. Seger had me forgetting he is exactly 50 years my senior with his boisterous dance moves and the excitement in his gravelly voice.
Towards the end of the concert, he slowed down and sang an emotional cover of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” featuring a black-and-white photo slideshow of many of his late rockstar colleagues in the primes of their lives.
The Silver Bullets put on not one but two encores, both of which were happily received by the crowd. He started with “Against the Wind” and “Hollywood Nights” and ended on his hit “Night Moves” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”
Overall, the concert was a time capsule of authentic rock and roll with a deep infusion of blues. For Seger’s last tour at the end of a laudable career in music, he is going out on his own terms — true to himself and his music.