VIDEO: Bob Seger humbles everyone watching “The Voice”

If you haven’t seen the video of Bob Seger on “The Voice”, check it out here.  Like American Idol, the music competition show invites guests to perform with the contestants.

This video has been circulating for a while, but worth a look to hear a old rock and roller absolutely kill it with a pair of newbies (Swon Brothers) who are not bad if they stay out of Rascal Flatts territory.  We don’t need another falsetto country lite band, right?  And they seemed geeked to be sitting by Seger – as they should be.

“Night Moves” (though a  truncated version) is done proud.  And the backing band will be a nice surprise.  Some killer B3 organ and a damn good cover band version of the song for Seger and the kids to sing.  Just wonder if anyone in the audience had a clue that the Michigan legend was in fine voice and probably the best rocker/musician/guest they will hear all season.


VIDEO: Bob Seger – “Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser” – Live in Toledo 2013

Bob Seger opened a new tour in Toledo late last week.  One guy, in the first five rows, recorded the songs from the night and posted them in a keenly neat and orderly fashion on YouTube.  Here’s my favorite.  Always a sucker for the combo, made famous on “Live Bullet.  The iconic voice still thrills me.  Detroit, baby.  And he will be 68 in May. Give it up for Bob.

Best of 2011 – The Dead Hearts, Seger, Huey and a Hoosier guitar player

(Originally appeared in NUVO Newsweekly Year-end Wrap Up)

Here’s the question I get more than any other about bands and music: What do they sound like? And when I write about musicians and their music, I relay influences I hear without making it seem like a singer or a band is only that.

It’s also my job to figure out what might make them unique; why we should care about them. For 2011, what resonated was the wide swath of sound encompassed by roots music in Indianapolis, whether we call it Americana, alt-country, folk or simply American rock and roll.

I leaned on some of my favorite moments of the year. New music and concerts that resonated by pushing ahead while respecting what came before. That’s when roots-rock music is, at its best.

Best New Local Band: The Dead Hearts
Brandon Perry and his buddies put together a group of Indiana guys playing crunchy Midwest and Memphis rock and roll. They made the Q95 Next Big Thing contest, and have a look and sound that harkens back to power pop crossed with Fogerty. This is unapologetic, Petty rock.

Best Local Album: Tim Grimm – Wilderness Songs and Bad Man Ballads
Part compilation album, part new material, Grimm’s new album invites you in with his warm, conversational, roughly gorgeous voice. He keeps you listening because the songs richly describe the details of the characters who live there.

Lucky to See Them Here: Civil Wars at the Earth House
Huge. That is what they are. The success they have had this year, both critical and commercial, was on display on a sweaty July night when the duo poured beautiful harmonies into the old church. They played late in the year at a larger venue (the Egyptian Room), but this is the show that the fans will talk about in reverential terms in 10 years. It was a magical and memorable night of music for the soul.

Two Unexpectedly Great Live Shows: REO Speedwagon at Rib America and Huey Lewis at Clowes Hall
The Champaign, Ill., boys of REO turned Rib America into a sing-along that was propelled by a surprising classic rock energy from Kevin Cronin and his band. They pulled out some old stuff (“Son of a Poor Man”) that felt good, and celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Hi Infidelity album with multiple cuts from that smash. Great sound, great energy and one of the nicest surprises from an old rock band this year. Lewis, on the other hand, has partially reinvented his band as a Stax/Memphis soul and rock group. Mixing his hits with the soulful sound of the South, Lewis thrilled a Clowes Hall crowd, looked good and proved how you can maintain your integrity as a performer 20 years after your most recent hit song.

Guitar Player Taking it National: Thom Daugherty
Fresh from the breakup of The Elms, Daugherty has done some production work and caught on as a sideman/guitarist with the uber-hot The Band Perry. As the DVD/album “The Last Band on Earth” shows, the guitarist and his crunchy chords were a large part of the legacy of The Elms. He has taken that start and vaulted himself to a place that takes him on a cross-country trek, meeting some of his heroes and allowing him to play for more people than The Elms ever did.

Last Time Around For Two Legends: George Jones at the Murat, and Glen Campbell at the Palladium
Campbell is wrapping up his career with a tour and battling Alzheimer’s disease, while George is simply an old guy who has lived nine lives. Both revisited their hits for audiences that sensed they were watching history.

Maybe Not The Last Time: Bob Seger at Conseco Fieldhouse
His show in May was a greatest hits extravaganza, but how could it not be, with his ubiquitous radio status? He forgot the words to “Turn the Page” and laughed it off. That’s because the other two and a half hours were filled with the rock and roll soundtrack of the lives of any rock fan between the ages of 35 and 60. Seger tours without a flashy stage set up – no big screens, no lasers, no fire bombs. He just brings the band and rock and rolls like it’s 1980. God bless Bob Seger. He’s back out on the road and putting a new album together.

Bob Seger Doesn’t Disappoint: Reviews from Indianapolis

Almost a week after the Bob Seger show at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, I’m caught myself thinking about the show, and how soulful and energized the Detroit rock icon was. 

Here was my view of the Seger show.

He played 2 hours, 20 minutes, and mixed the setlist up just enough to make it interesting with some deep cuts. Seger played to the back of the hall as much as the front row.  And he did both.   We weren’t standing close, though dead-ahead center with the stage, 20 yards behind the soundboard.

When I saw him in 2006, I found a happy place in the top row of the upper deck, with a  straight on view of the stage.  I had moved four songs into that show that November night, after having heard enough of the muddy sound the venue is so famous – that’s what a cheap upper deck, side stage ticket from a scalper 10 minutes before the show will sometimes get you.  But once I relocated, it was magical.  Because Seger is about the voice, the songs and the band.  Not the flash, the light show or the wardrobe changes.

Last Saturday night, Seger reinvested in the heartland rock and roll that he does better than anyone else, and has formed the template for hundreds (thousands) of bands.  And, defying a bit of age and both the good and band of having spent so much of his life on a stage, he did that magical rock and roll thing again, aided mightily by a crowd that knew that songs, and songs that are still rock and roll relevant.

Is it cool to like Bob Seger? It is to me.

Three good things about the show:
1. No video screens. Makes the crowd follow the music and musicians in a more organic way. I can’t overstate the difference it makes in a show when eyes and ears are your own, not owned by the video director. Continue reading “Bob Seger Doesn’t Disappoint: Reviews from Indianapolis”

Seger Hits Indy Saturday – this could be the last time?

On Saturday night (May 7) Bob Seger’s show hits at Conseco Fieldhouse. Watch  (at the end of the post) a video of a “Live Bullet” pairing, taken from Seger’s opening night show in Toledo. Seger says this is probably the last big tour he’ll do, and while the grey hair is prominent and it’s been almost than 50 years (on the road for most of the first 30 of those) since his first Ann Arbor and Detroit hits, the Bob is still rocking. Check out the reverberating performance from Grand Funk Railroad drummer Don Brewer in the video.

Is it cynical to call Seger a grandpa-looking dude onstage? Yes, it is. The songs? C’mon. Is there a classic rock radio artist who has more songs on the radio every day, all over the country? I would place a bet that he gets more airplay these days than either the Beatles or the Stones.

Bob Seger music, argue if you must, has represented that heartland rock/Indiana music sound far longer (and at least as well) than even our own Mellencamp, and the Michigan rocker is still embracing his inner arena rock and roll, road songs soul. Love the Seger.

Now, if only his manager would get the damn music on iTunes, so someone under 30 years-old might find him.

VIDEO: “Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser”