Seger’s ‘Old Time Rock and Roll’ soothes Tulsa’s soul

The house lights went down and a voice came over the speakers. “Bob and the band will be taking the stage in five minutes,” the voice said and the near-capacity BOK Center crowd erupted in cheer. They were about to hear some old time rock and roll.

Then, moments later, Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band took there places. “I’m feeling funky Tulsa,” said Seger.  “Are you feeling funky too?”

And with that the show was off and running. Seger and crew broke out into “Roll Me Away” and never looked back, taking the thousands in attendance back through Seger’s long career loaded with hits. The Motor City Horns joined the band for “Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You.” The four piece horn section complimented Alto Reed’s saxophone and backup singers Shaun Murphy, Laura Creamer and Barbara Payton’s vocals nicely.

Glenpool’s Mark Chatfield was spectacular on lead guitar, while Grand Funk Railroad’s Don Brewer kept everyone’s feet tapping to the beat of his drums.

Seger’s appearance is different than it once was. Gone is his wavy black hair, replaced by gray, including his beard. It is to be expected considering that Seger, 65, has been  performing since the 1960’s. The one thing that was not missing though was his trademark voice. He struggled ever-so-slightly a couple of times in the opening, but throughout the remainder of the night he did not disappoint.

As Seger started into “Fire Down Below” the lighting trusses dropped down into place backlighting a simple stage. There were no massive video screens behind or to the sides of the stage, just Seger and the band with a generous amount of mood lighting. It was at this point in the show that one could understand that this was truly an old-time rock show.

Seger continued through his set, sitting on a stool at center stage for “Mainstreet.” Following that they turned it up a notch, performing the popular “Old Time Rock and Roll.”

He sprinkled in a few songs other than his classics, including his new single “Downtown Train” and Chuck Berry’s “C’est La Vie.” However, all of the old hits were there as well. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” “Betty Lou’s Getting Out Tonight,” “Travelin’ Man,” and “Beautiful Loser” along with others closed out the first part of the show.

After a short break Seger powered through “Nutbush City Limits,” “Come to Poppa,” “Her Strut,” and “Real Mean Bottle,” and “We’ve Got Tonight” before stopping to talk to the crowd. He told them that his next song was actually recorded  in Leon Russell’s studio in the Tulsa area.

The crowd then exploded in cheers when Reed’s trademark saxophone note rang out, marking the beginning of “Turn the Page.” What was even more impressive was the amount of crowd participation during the song. The entire audience, on their feet, belted out every word along with Seger.

Seger finished up with “Sunspot Baby,” “Horizontal Bop,” and “Katmandu” before leaving the stage to a standing ovation. The departure of Seger and the band from the stage was short-lived, as the audience continued to wildly cheer. They had no choice but to give them more.

They treated the crowd to “Against the Wind,” and “Hollywood Nights” before teasing the crowd, once again leaving the stage. A few moments later they returned for a final encore with “Night Moves,” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.”


Photos by Kevin Pyle

In total, Seger’s set lasted well over two hours, giving those in the audience more than their money’s worth.

Simply put, Seger may be getting older, as we all are, but he still likes that old time rock and roll. And on Thursday night in Tulsa, Seger and The Silver Bullet Band definitely soothed the soul.