You know that lyric: So you're a little bit older and a lot more paunchy than you used to be. OK, I'm paraphrasing. But that description would describe Bob Seger and many of the 15,000 people who attended his sold-out concert Thursday at Xcel Center.
Yes, rock 'n' roll never forgets, but it also doesn't necessarily age gracefully in arenas.
At 66, Seger is not as agelessly athletic as Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler or Bruce Springsteen. He doesn't have the presence of Neil Diamond, Neil Young or Elton John. And he doesn't bother with such modern-day concert accoutrements as live video, first-rate sound and stage runways and ramps.
But he still has a catalog of rock classics, a distinctive voice and a potent Silver Bullet Band. Hence, Seger was able to deliver a good-time, crowd-pleasing show.
The Rock Hall of Famer took a 10-year hiatus (to raise his two kids) before his 2006 comeback album and tour. Now he has hit the road again with a no-frills show that felt like a barebones test-drive to see if he wants to continue past the 26 spring concerts. His stage set was as dated as his Jim McMahon headband and his sound system was as muddy as concerts in the vinyl era, but Seger and his repertoire were like a rock.
The gray-haired, bespectacled guy in jeans and 2003 Harley Davidson T-shirt carried on with blue-collar earnestness, guy-next-door bonhomie and Detroit soulfulness. He was in better voice than at his 2006 Xcel concert, and he seemed to be a little more energetic. It was far from vintage live Seger, but the songs were still the same -- as classic as ever.
"Come To Poppa" was a funky strut; "Beautiful Loser" was beautifully rendered by a suddenly demonstrative Seger and the back-to-back piano ballads "We've Got Tonight" and "Turn the Page" were intimate, uncluttered highlights.
Seger threw in some deeper album cuts, including the passionate ballad "Good for Me," and the new single, a too-dense "Downtown Train," which seemed to be a cue for fans to take a bathroom break. Seger himself took a brief eight-minute intermission ("because I'm very old," he explained) but never lost momentum during his 130-minute performance.
He seemed a little ill at ease as a conversationalist, saying things like "we haven't played this one in a long time" (ah, dude, you haven't played much of anything in a long time). But the homestretch run that included the horn-happy "Horizontal Bop," "Night Moves" and "Rock 'n' Roll Never Forgets" made this an evening of oldies that Seger fans will never forget.
- For set list, go to www.startribune.com/artcetera.
- Twitter: @jonbream