Bob Seger Inspires Flashing and Bootlegging at the American Airlines Center

Bob Seger, Rosehill American Airlines Center Saturday, December 17, 2011

Better than: Watching the 50-year-old woman a few rows in front of me show off her boobs.

In front of a packed audience at the AAC Saturday night, legendary rocker Bob Seger, looking fit and trim, put on a fiery two-hour show that should dispel any notion the 66-year-old is thinking about retirement. Playing songs that spanned his entire half-century career, Seger led a top-notch 14-piece band through an inspired performance that clearly thrilled the large, middle-aged crowd.

And speaking of the crowd, what happened in the stands was almost as exciting as what was happening on stage.

First, it was the aforementioned frau who decided she still had a body that warranted showing off. Shortly after she raised her shirt, the lady was whisked away by security. Then, a rotund, slightly homeless-looking dude was taken away by the cops for allegedly selling bootleg Bob Seger t-shirts.

Then, a near fight broke out a couple rows behind me over who belonged in row O, seats 12 and 13. Seems the couple who originally occupied those spots didn't have the tickets to prove they belonged there. A late-arriving, out of breath couple did have the correct documentation and staff members tried to quietly rectify the situation. But wait, don't you have to have a physical copy of some form of ticket to even get in? Who throws away their tickets that fast?

All the fuss in the crowd couldn't detract from the skill and energy of Bob Seger and his band. Beginning with 1983's "Roll Me Away," Seger gave the crowd exactly what they came for: hits, hits and more hits. Key moments included "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," a song that began Seger's popular ascension way back in 1968, and a killer take on 1977's "Mainstreet."

Interestingly, "We've Got Tonight" and "Old Time Rock and Roll," songs that were bigger hits, came off as slightly less engaging than deeper cuts like "Come to Papa" and "Fire Down Below."

But such is a small quibble for an otherwise amazing night of music. Seger proved that age does not have to turn a musician into an act destined for Vegas. Sure, he hasn't put out an album since 2006's Face the Promise, but Seger's impressive back catalog is still better than that of musicians half his age.

Obviously, Seger's brand of meat and potatoes heartland rock still has a place in today's marketplace. Let's just hope that Seger's next studio project will endear him to a whole new generation of fans. Lord knows the youngsters these days could stand a good injection of earnest, frill-free rock and roll.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Back in the day, I was never that big of a fan of Bob Seger. In my teens, his music struck me as an anti-intellectual version of Springsteen. Older and a bit wiser, I now know better.

By the way: Cyprus, Texas' own Rosehill opened the show with harmless country rock that was neither impressive nor offensive. Music this safe belongs on prime time television.

Random note: During "We've Got Tonight," some guy was heard telling his significant other, "We've made love to this song."

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers