01 December 2006

Rock and Roll Never Forgets ...

So just minutes after I posted my last two blog entries, I get this e-mail from Kim. "You wouldn't be interested in seeing Bob Seger tonight, would you?"

Ummm ... hell yeah! Who better than Seger to assuage my mid-life angst? Mr. Sweet Sixteen-turns-Thirty-One himself! I grew up listening to WCKG when they still played music, and Seger was in constant rotation though the 80s and early 90s. I still remember the first time I heard "Turn the Page;" I couldn't wait to tell my long-haired-rock-guitarist best friend about it.

After taking a decade off to raise his children, Seger has returned to the road with his Silver Bullet Band, and let me tell you: this guy ROCKS. Sweet Sixteen has turned sixty-one, but from the opening "Roll Me Away" to the double encore with "Katmandu," "Sunspot Baby" and "Hollywood Nights," the 2-1/2 hour show was awesome. Yes, they took an intermission (a whole 8 minutes). Yes, things slowed down a bit in the second set, as he worked through a lot of his newer stuff and some slower tunes. But when his piano player of 25+ years hit those opening notes of "Old Time Rock & Roll," or his incredible sax player went on long solo binges from one side of the stage to the other, this older-than-my-father rocker brought an absolutely packed Allstate Arena to its feet.

What's more, it was clear that he was out there having fun. He spent the whole night with a huge, gap-toothed grin on his face, pumping his arms and grooving along to classic hit after classic hit. Sure, the Midwest is his fanbase (as evidenced by his tour schedule), but when the audience went on an extended (very extended) ovation after "Page," it was clear that he and his songs are still relevant, still loved, and that he's just happy making music that makes other people happy.

(By the way, I know about the grin because of our seats ... Kim's boss had some people back out at the last minute, so we ended up 8th row, dead center, close enough to see the salt stains on Seger's shirt. It was so cool ... the Arena was completely filled, but being so close it felt like we were at some small, intimate venue and the band was playing for only a couple hundred people. It was ironic, really -- at first I thought the show was at the Rosemont Theater; I even said to Kim, "do you really mean the Allstate Arena? Are they big enough now for an arena show?")

I was right there cheering along -- the last time I heard "Page" live was in the same arena, only sung by James Hetfield backed by Kirk Hammett ... as much as I love the Metallica version of the song, I can now say definitively that no one compares to the original!

One thing -- I hope USADA doesn't show up to the state championships on Sunday. Let me tell you, the contact high from medicinal marijuana being smoked by geriatric audience members far outdoes anything I've experienced from the young punks at System of a Down or Green Day!

Feeding the angst: I went searching for a review of last night's show on Metromix this morning, and came across a concert listing for Josh Caterer ... as if my own, self-imposed midlife anxiety wasn't enough, this is the guy for whom my middle-school girlfriend Jenny broke up with me. Here I am in a never-ending, work-related hell, while he's got a friggin' Wikipedia entry and the Popes played Lollapalooza last summer in Grant Park. (Wikipedia is admittedly slanted, but does paint a good picture of what life was like at good-ol' Harry D. high school. And Josh was really, really cool. Eli too. God damn, that was a long time ago.)

Weather update: Well, if it were all about experience, I'd win on Sunday hands down. We've gotten dumped on, from 10+ inches in Rockford to blizzard conditions in Kenosha. In Evanston we have about 4-6 inches, so Montrose should be close ... and now they're calling for 12 degree highs on Sunday. If you add up my racing at Providence and Groundhog, that makes me the most experienced ...

For real, though, the weather has made this a wide-open race. Brian has to be the favorite after his race in Providence last year, and we'll see how Sachs can handle the rough stuff. (His power output may be nullified depending on the course.) The snow gives Lou a huge advantage as well; his handling skills are legendary in the snow. The big question ... Will RV take to the start in epic conditions? Will his facial hair serve as a sufficient buffer against the cold?


1 comment:

David Johnsen said...

My parents and my brother were there last night -- but not in the 8th row! I'm not really a fan anymore, but I saw him about 20 years ago in the same venue (when it was the Rosemont Horizon) with my parents and a friend.

As for Josh, look at the bright side... You could smoke him like a pope in a bike race.