Via Brian McCollum in Detroit Free Press: Nearly half a century after he stepped onto the Pine Knob stage for the first time, Bob Seger stepped off it Friday for good. Raising his fists triumphantly and blowing a kiss to fans, the much-loved, retiring Michigan rocker headed off with a wave as he closed his show at DTE Energy Music Theatre, wrapping up a sold-out six-show stand and saying goodbye to a venue that’s loomed large in his career.
Few musical artists anywhere are bonded with their hometowns the way Seger is with Detroit, and the love was flowing both ways Friday in a high-energy affair that marked the singer's 33rd concert at the suburban amphitheater. On a pleasant summer-solstice evening, plenty of old rituals were happily reignited — starting with the parking lots full of fans partying and dancing to Seger songs hours ahead of the show.
With a couple of key exceptions, Friday’s set list was pretty much like other shows on this continuing farewell tour with the Silver Bullet Band. But the magnitude of the moment — Bob’s last night at Pine Knob — wasn’t lost on the longtime fans or Seger himself, and it seemed to give everything an extra emotional lift: “Roll Me Away” felt just a bit more soaring, “Come to Poppa” a little more sinewy-soulful, the crowd singalong on “Turn the Page” that much more robust.
A chugging “Face the Promise,” title track of his 2006 album, was dusted off to start the set, while “The Famous Final Scene” made a poignant encore appearance. When Seger wrote the latter song in 1977, as he told the crowd, “I never knew I’d need it for a night like tonight.” Friday’s strong showing came despite technical glitches that left Seger occasionally frustrated, including issues with his in-ear monitor mix and two acoustic guitars that weren’t cutting it on “Night Moves,” leaving him to give up strumming and just sing. (Guitarist Rob McNelley helped out on the fly.)
All told, this six-night DTE stand for 90,000 concertgoers was a warm and fitting send-off, and not just for Michigan supporters. Fans from across the country flocked to the old Pine Knob for a chance to catch Seger on hallowed hometown ground. The guest list featured some prominent names: fellow musicians flew in to be part of the moment, including Eric Church on June 8 and Michelle Phillips on Wednesday.
Seger may be done as a headliner at DTE, but his legacy is certainly imprinted on the place — right down to its official new address, 33 Bob Seger Blvd. Some summer nights do live forever.