Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band - Staples Center - 12/28/11
Known for his blend of heartland rock and old school R&B, Bob Seger has a fairly-staggering catalog of classic rock staples. Touring behind the release of yet another Greatest Hits package -- this time a 26-song, double disc set -- and without any new material, Seger still managed to fill the Staples Center. Though once known for his relentless tour schedule, he rarely plays here anymore, and folks were ready for him.
Staples isn't always easy to perform at; Seger's pal Bruce Springsteen -- who recently jumped on stage with him at Madison Square Garden -- slammed the venue's lack of character and poor sound. But last night the 66-year-old (!) Seger's gruff voice was in top form.
He and his 13-piece Silver Bullet Band played a crisp, crowd pleasing, 100-minute set that consisted mostly of greatest hits, with a few covers sprinkled in. Clad in all black and sporting a headband, Seger had the energy of a young dude, running across the stage while his band -- spearheaded by longtime bassist Chris Campbell and saxophonist Alto Reed -- earned their paychecks.
We may have been hearing "Old Time Rock & Roll," "Hollywood Nights" and "Mainstreet" since the Carter administration, but they still pack a punch live. Seger also went back to his R&B roots with covers of Little Richard's "Hey Hey Hey Hey! (Goin' Back to Birmingham)" and Tina Turner's "Nutbush City Limits." Turns out the guy in the grey beard has a diverse range of influences.
The fans were energetic as well, a bit older and more grizzled than the average Staples crowd. L.A. fans tend to get a lot of shit for being lackadaisical and indifferent at shows, but last night it was a different story. Folks barely sat, rocking out to every song.
What has made Seger's music endure is that people relate to his brand of blue-collar rock. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's catchy melodies, meanwhile, just seem to hold up. Rock music today isn't as popular as it was during Seger's heyday; his show last night demonstrated that people still have passion for it, suggesting that maybe today's crop of rockers just don't have Seger's talent.