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Seger Brings Motown Soul & Rock n Roll To Buffalo N.Y.


Seger
Brings Motown Soul & Rock n Roll To Buffalo N.Y.

Music
that comes from Detroit bears a mark of distinction. The
working-class, rough-and-tumble world that grew around the automobile
industry produced an interesting cultural byproduct. The timeless R&B
of Motown met and mingled with urban rhythm and blues, partied with
rock ’n’ roll and emerged on the other side as a new fusion of
all of these styles.
 
Bob
Seger’s music is the epitome of Detroit-style rock ’n’ roll,
and before what appeared to be a mostly full house in First Niagara
Center on Thursday, he offered up two-plus hours of the stuff. The
man is 68 years old. But he partied like he was still waiting for his
30th birthday to roll around. The whole vibe was soooo Detroit.
 
Flanked
by a large band – which included Grand Funk Railroad’s Don Brewer
on drums and harmony vocals, as well as original Silver Bullet Band
members Alto Reed on sax and Chris Campbell on bass – Seger gave
everything he had to his meat-and-potatoes rock and soul. The
assembled partied like it was 1975, or 1985. Opening with “Long
Twin Silver Line,” from 1980’s “Against the Wind” album,
Seger appeared energetic, relatively trim and in much stronger voice
than he was when he played the then-HSBC Arena. The large band,
beautifully mixed by the touring soundman, presented an earthy blend
of Motown, soul and primal rock ’n’ roll from the get-go, and if
Seger couldn’t hit the highest of his high notes from days gone by,
he gave it everything he had, as he stalked the stage like a grizzled
rocker who had come to pay a visit to some old friends.
Arena
shows can be cold, and lonely affairs, the vastness of the room
acting as a buffer between performer and audience, as if we had all
gathered to watch a legend perform via satellite from some other
locale. Thursday’s show revealed Seger’s greatest strength to be
his ability to make a hockey arena feel like a living room – his
living room. The vibe was intimate, the sound was well above average
for an arena show, and the set list proved to be impeccably paced.
The
Fire Down Below,” “Main Street,” “Old Time Rock ’n’ Roll”
– to refer to these tunes as classics is to utter a cliché.
There’s no way around it. These songs are classics, no-frills
singer-songwriter fare that was oiled and lubed in the Detroit
factory. Which is to suggest that the shadow of Motown music never
left the stage Thursday.
Seger
played “Like A Rock” for the first time in a quarter century,
while seated and strumming an acoustic guitar. He delivered the song
with passion and almost made us forget that the paean to personal
fortitude had been made into a commercial of Chevrolet trucks in the
early ’90s.
Seger
fans came to hear their man give it all he had, and he did that,
tearing through “Live Bullet” classics like “Beautiful Loser”
and “Travelin’ Man” with considerable vigor, and offering a
taste of his forthcoming album in the form of a cover of Billy Bragg
& Wilco’s “California Stars” (a high point of the show)
before taking a seat at the piano and leading the band through the
fairly cheesy ballad “We’ve Got Tonight” (a low point, but not
so low as to be unforgivable).
What
can be said about Bob Seger in 2013? His tours are essentially
victory laps, with a few new numbers thrown in to keep things
somewhat vital. And guess what? That’s just what the doctor
ordered.
 
by
Chuck Schultz photos Kelly E Schultz

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