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BOB SEGER ignores fan’s flowers
April 17, 1980
Well into Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s Friday night performance at the UT Special Events Center, a fan found out something disheartening about the man stalking the stage. Throwing a bouquet of flowers up at the singer-songwriter, the young woman realized that Seger had no intention of catching them. Frustrated, she tossed some remaining stems, either in anger or as one last try for recognition. All Seger did was raise his foot to knock them down and continued with the final bars of “Horizontal Bop.” So much for star worshipping.
What was one customer’s lots was a gain for the rest-Seger rock and rolled the crowd through a magnificent show, perhaps the best in this area since last summer’s S.A. and Austin barrage by Cheap Trick. After a strong opening set by the Rockets, with Ted Nugent alumnus Dave Gilbert in superlative voice, Segar and crew opened with numbers from their last three Albums, perhaps because they hadn’t played Austin in so long. (The late ’78 attempt was reportedly cancelled because it was set up hurriedly; Seger played in S.A.). For whatever reason, Seger and the Silver Bullet Band didn’t match the audience’s collective wavelength right away.
But on the fifth tune, “Old Time Rock in Roll” (with a different-and superior-introduction than on the record), the Superdrum exploded with a deafening roar, and they made every minute count from that point onward. Turning to half of their new LP Against the Wind (Capitol), the Bullet Band communicated with astonishing force. “Her Strut” (“they do respect her but they love to watch her strut”) sported lowdown grittiness as no one else can do it, while Seger’s current hit’ ‘Fire Lake” was much more palatable live. And “Horizontal Bop” and “Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight,” rather thin on vinyl, attained blazing proportions.
The difference between the last time 1 saw Seger and his Superdrum concert had to do with pacing. In 1978, he was prone to breaking up the flow of his sensational, raspy rock singing with ballads. Alternating Friday between playing guitar and singing without it, Seger sat down at the piano for “We’ve Got Tonight’ three quarters into the show, and it was the only slow thing he did.
“Brave Strangers” followed, “Fire Down Below” sounded as threatening as its title, and intense renditions of “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and “Katmandu” sealed the near-pandemonium. With guitarist Drew Abbott and drummer Dave Teagarden flipping on the seat, Seger howled his soul off. Two encores and four songs later, Seger and group were pounding out an incredibly hot version of Chuck Berry’s “Let it Rock”, capped by Abbott’s stinging drive and Alto Reed’s saxophone solo from the third seating deck.
Seger fans know that this rather extravagant move is coming but it is almost always executed at the perfect time. Like the crazed fool pounding out “Good Golly Miss Molly” on a garbage can in the “American Hot Wax” film, when the spotlight hits Reed up in the third tier, it’s a testimony to cuttin” loose. They don’t need smoke bombs
BOB SEGER DISCOGRAPHY:
1969 Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
1971 Brand New Morning
1972 Smokin’ O.P.’s
1973 Back in ’72
1974 Get Out of Denver (Live)
1975 Beautiful Loser
1976 Live Bullet
1976 Night Moves
1978 Stranger in Town
1980 Against the Wind
1981 Nine Tonight (Live)
1982 The Distance
1986 Like a Rock
1991 The Fire Inside
1995 It’s A Mystery
2006 Face the Promise
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BOB SEGER PHOTOS BY BEN UPHAM