It could have been that it was a homecoming for Bob Seger that made his two-night sellout performance at Detroit's Cobo Arena so triumphant this week.
Seger, who grew up in the Detroit area, was backed by the Silver Bullet Band, also from Detroit, and Seger made it clear that he was not going to forget the people that got him started.
"I read somewhere, I think it was in Rolling Stones," Seger told the crowd, "that Detroit has the finest rock and roll audience in the world.
"Well, I've known that for 10 years now!"
The audience was behind him from the start, as Seger opened his set with a full-blast attention-grabber, the pulsating "Nutbush City Limit," written by Tina Turner.
Then Seger took off into some older tunes, including "Back in '72," where the lyrics state, "Yea we got lonesome for Lincoln Park," again demonstrating his love for the Detroit area.
Keeping up the pace, the gravelly voiced Seger followed with "Rosalie," Van Morrison's "I've Been Working" and "Bo Didley." The latter tune gave the Silver Bullet Band a chance to expose the talent that kept the concert cooking. Then, bringing the crowd up to date, Seger performed "Beautiful Loser," the title cut off his latest album.
The surprise in Seger's music came when he slowed the tempo down considerably with "Turn the Page." The lyrics told the story of a musician's feelings while being on the road, and proved that Seger can comfortably handle other types of musical energy, not just the hard-core, steely rock and roll sound that he is famous for.
Then as a kind of "thank you for making me famous, Detroit," he slid into new arrangements "Heavy Music" and "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man," two early numbers that got him rolling in the music industry.
When he came back to a screaming audience that just couldn't seem to get close enough (some had to be thrown off the stage) Seger chose Chuck Berry's "Little Queenie" for his encore.
It should be noted that another reason for Seger's brilliant performance was the fact that the concert was being recorded for a possible live album. Video cameras on hand were also an indication that a video-disc could be in the works.
Overall, the concert was flawless and moved ahead like a burning locomotive. Not your run-of-the-mill sequined theatrical performance, but instead slippin' and slidin' with straight ahead rock and roll, which makes watching as good as listening -- the way Seger fans wanted it.