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Bob Seger still has a few months remaining on his final tour, yet he’s already thinking ahead to the future.
“Maybe in 2020, I’ll become a wedding singer,” he told the sold-out crowd on Feb. 28 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. “So, keep me in mind.”
Whatever it takes to keep you performing, Bob. Whatever it takes.
Because the thought that we just witnessed your last ever concert in California is almost too much to bear.
Was that really it — the final Seger show in the Golden State? According to his farewell tour itinerary, as it currently stands, that is indeed the case. Of course, it’s possible that he could add another leg on the West Coast later, especially since the closest he came to playing in the Bay Area was this Sacramento show.
But the itinerary currently runs through a four-night stand in Detroit, which would make for a fitting finale for this Michigan native. It’s hard to imagine him adding any dates after the Detroit run.
So, this certainly felt like the last time that Seger and his mighty Silver Bullet Band would roll through California. And he’d certainly make it count, delivering a two-hour set that was filled with some of the best songs in rock history.
The 73-year-old front man opened the concert with “Shakedown,” the late-’80s rocker from the “Beverly Hills Cop II” soundtrack that earned Seger his sole No. 1 hit on the pop charts as well as an Academy Award nomination for best original song (where it’d lose to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing”).
From there, the concert just kept getting better and better, with Seger’s voice also improving throughout most of the night. It was only toward the very end, during the five-song encore, that you could really start to hear a bit of the wear and tear on this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s vocals.
He paced the show like a pro, loading up on ballads and mid-tempo numbers in the first third of the set and then steadily working in more high-octane rockers. That game plan gave the show a sense of momentum, like we were really building toward something legendary.
And, indeed, we were.
Seger and his 14-piece Silver Bullet Band — which includes the four-piece Motor City Horns section and three backing vocalists — were absolutely charging by the time they hit the 11th song of the evening, “Like a Rock.” This deeply nostalgic number, written from the perspective of an older man looking back at a younger version of his self, just felt so poignant on this night, fueled in part by the knowledge that this may well be the last time we get to see Seger perform it live.
Yeah, there was a lot of that on this night.
His lyrics, which routinely address the bittersweet passage of time, rang with such significance as he sang about “the memories that made me a wealthy soul” (from “Travelin’ Man”) or reminiscing “about the days of old” (from “Old Time Rock & Roll”).
It was like it wasn’t enough to simply listen to these words, or even sing along to them. We had to go further and actually soak them up as much as possible — cherish them — one last time.
That’s because, for most of these fans, these weren’t just songs. They were more like old friends — the best kind — ones that have been constants in their lives for decades, through good times and bad. You could tell by the way they smiled and hugged when Seger would launch into an old favorite. You could even hear people sharing stories of how much this music has meant to them over the years.
Seger brought the main set to a close in triumphant fashion, going from the fiery jam of “Travelin’ Man”/”Beautiful Loser” to the road weary classic “Turn the Page” and finally the title track to the 1969 debut studio album “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”
The rock legend then returned for two amazing encores, highlighted by a powerful run through “Hollywood Nights” (arguably the best song about L.A. ever written) and a fine sing-along of “Night Moves.” And, then, it was time for the final number — “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”
“For the last time, Sacramento,” Seger called out at the start of the song. “It never forgets.”
And neither will we, Bob. Neither will we.
“Shakedown”“Still the Same”“The Fire Down Below”“Mainstreet”“Old Time Rock & Roll”“The Fire Inside”“Shame on the Moon”“Roll Me Away”“Come to Poppa”“Her Strut”“Like a Rock”
“You’ll Accomp’ny Me”“We’ve Got Tonight”“Travelin’ Man”“Beautiful Loser”“Turn the Page”“Forever Young”“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”Encore:“In Your Time”“Against the Wind”“Hollywood Nights”“Night Moves”“Rock and Roll Never Forgets”
There have been more fantastic songs written about the great city of Los Angeles than any other city. By far. New York is distant second pic.twitter.com/SYKaPWUf2H
— Jim Harrington (@jimthecritic) March 1, 2019