Bob Seger doesn't just sing about "Old Time Rock and Roll." In a lot of ways Bob Seger IS old time rock and roll.

Playing on a very no frills stage, with no fancy clothes, sporting white hair and white beard befitting more a grandpa than a rock star, Bob is the last guy you'd pick out of a lineup as a bona fide music legend.

Until he opens his mouth.

That unmistakable voice thrilled a nearly packed house for nearly two hours at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls Tuesday night, with an impressive selection of a timeless catalog, that dates back to the late 1960's. Bob effortlessly ripped through classics like "Old Time Rock and Roll," "Mainstreet," "The Fire Down Below," and "Tryin' to Live My Life Without You," all while sounding remarkably similar to the guy we've been listening to on the radio for the past 40 years.

Bob's vocals weren't the only thing sounding great Tuesday night.  His band, especially guitarist Rob McNelley (who has been touring with Seger for only a year) and sax player Alto Reed (who has been touring with Seger forever), were nothing short of spectacular. The Motor City Horns were solid, backing Bob all night.

Even though most of the evening sounded very familiar, there were a few wrinkles thrown in:

  • Right away when the band took the stage, I thought I recognized the drummer.  Later, when Bob introduced the group, my suspicions were confirmed.  Manning the kit was none other than Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad fame.  Too bad they couldn't have worked "We're An American Band" into the set list, but it was Bob's show after all.
  • Bob showing off his country side with "The Fireman's Talkin'", complete with a fiddle player and banjo player.
  • Bob bringing back "Like A Rock", which, according to Bob, he hasn't performed on tour in 30 years.
  • Bob, sitting at the piano, sharing a touching moment when he introduced his mother's favorite song of his, "We've Got Tonight". It was during that song I realized how much the world we live in had changed over the years, when only about a dozen cigarette lighters managed to make an appearance in the audience.
  • Bob sharing a story about seeing Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan on tour years ago. Bob says Stevie made such an impression on him that he wrote the song "Hey Gypsy" in his honor.  The song is on Bob's latest album Ride Out and features the familiar strains of SRV's "Pride and Joy" at the beginning.

The evening ended with not one, but two encores:  "Against the Wind" and "Hollywood Nights" for the first curtain call, "Night Moves" and "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" for the finale.

When the night was done it was obvious that no one in attendance will ever forget a very special South Dakota night with a rock and roll icon.  Well done Bob!

Bob's opening act, Clare Dunn, a relative newcomer to the music business, provided a solid start to the evening.  The self-described "farm girl from Southeast Colorado" looked and sounded like a younger, slightly edgier Sheryl Crow.

My only two (very) minor issues with her set: thanking the crowd too often (two or three times would have sufficed), and dedicating a song to "all the cowboys and cowgirls out there".  With more experience she will get to know her audience a little better, and a Bob Seger crowd was not rocking a ton of cowboy boots.

She more than redeemed herself with an inspired version of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" to close her time on stage.  Remember the name Clare Dunn.  She's releasing her debut album later this year.

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