Jack Nicholson smiled at me. But not THE Jack Nicholson- that impersonator who likes to frequent Bob Seger concerts.
And how appropriate. Because in six minutes, Bob Seger would walk onto the stage of The Palace, singing to a sold-out Detroit [most likely the suburbs] crowd.
My parents listened to Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band. Neither ever mentioned Bob Seger without the seemingly mandatory 'Silver Bullet Band' following; it must have been some special Detroit sign of allegiance.
On records in the house, and on cassette tapes when driving to Michigan from our new home on the East coast, that is what we listened to- Bob Seger & the Silver Bullets [even 'Shakedown' was in heavy rotation]
Successfully embarrassing us at an early age, my mother tried to sing along [definitely off-key] to Seger and made us dance with her in the living room. When Like a Rock came out- it was the only music that came out of the speakers, except for the occasional True Blue. Thus was the beginning of my Seger forced conditioning.
After I convinced myself to push aside the vision of the long-haired Seger from the seventies that was dancing in my head- and replace it with the Seger that showed up on Saturday, everything was fine. The audience seemed truly elated about the final performance of the three-night stint, their excitement showcased on hand-painted 'I Love Bob Seger' posters, and written on their faces.
Roars erupted continuously. Fans voices reverberated off the cement steps as they sang along; it was heartwarming- not awkward- and left me smiling. And although it was no Live Bullet, it was much closer than expected. The best part was that Seger himself seemed excited. That made the show.
Seger's voice sounded exactly as it had on my cds. I was surprised and supremely relieved. I had resisted seeing artists of legendary status courtesy of a mid-nineties Jerry Garcia, who, by that time, was a played-out, strung-out version of himself. Since witnessing that traumatic RFK performance- I had run the other way to avoid the disappointment of sad replays of forlorn classics.
Bob Seger's two children joined him onstage; one serving as songbird, the other, accompanying on sax. So Seger performed dual roles while on stage that evening, playing the star he shines on everyone and the role that few know him as, dad.