It’s funny. Whenever I mention Bob Seger around friends, it’s always a reaction of love or hate. I really like most of everything I’ve heard by him sans a few songs, mainly Katmandu, Old Time Rock and Roll and Like a Rock. Even before Chevy picked that song up it annoyed me for some reason. I could stand never hearing Turn the Page again just because it’s a good song that’s been overplayed, not to mention the bastardized version that Metallica recorded. Horrid.
Upon getting to our floor seats, I noticed two drum sets on the stage which meant there was an opener. BUMMER. I didn’t sleep much the night before and even though I had a nap earlier at the hotel, I was still wiped out and the last thing I wanted to do was sit through an opener. It was Austin’s Heartless Bastards and were about as boring as I could imagine. Good on ‘em for picking some shows on such a huge tour, but they just weren’t my thing at all.
Bob Hits the stage just a little after 9PM and opens with Roll Me Away from The Distance album and went right into the Otis Clay cover of Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You. I wasn’t familiar with either of them but the majority of the crowd was singng along to both. That crowd averaged in age about 50 years or more.
Fire Down Below came up next and that got the crowd even more energized. It was followed by a Steve Earle cover tune called The Devil’s Right Hand from his new album entitled Ride out. That album is Bob’s last according to him. He also played a John Hiatt tune from Ride out called Detroit Made.
They ran through most of the hits you’d expect and thankfully skipped Katmandu. I’ve always been a big fan of Against the Wind, Come to Poppa, Beautiful Loser, Night Moves and Especially Hollywood Nights. Bob’s songs sometimes tell great stories. Against the Wind and Hollywood Nights certainly evoked some great childhood memories and even some memories of good loves gone bad or bad loves gone worse. haha. I was really hoping to hear Still the Same, Even Now, You’ll Accomp’ny Me, Shame on the Moon and even more so Fire Lake. I adore that song.
Bob will be 70 this year but you’d never know it. He was all over the stage and his voice was in excellent shape. I was really surprised. Overall it was a great show minus two drunk couples in front of us that wouldn’t shut up the whole show.
Thanks for the memories and great songs, Bob.
When I saw that the Extreme Guitar Tour was coming through Houston, on a weekend night no less, I had to make arrangements to go. It was a tough drive since the Alice Cooper after party from the night before gave me a bad case of rock and roll pneumonia. haha
Opening the show was a Canadian band called Old James.I couldn’t quite get a bead on them. While I could tell that they were all proficient musicians, nothing sounded congruent. No hooks. They covered Thin Lizzy’s Cold Sweat but I couldn’t tell what it was until the chorus. I heard a few other folks say the same thing.
Black Knights Rising (BKR) is a bit of a supergroup featuring Tim “Ripper” Owens (Winter’s Bane, Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio Disciples and many more), Craig Goldy (DIO, Giuffria, Rough Cutt), Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, DIO, Rick Derringer), Elliott Rubison (Uli Roth, MSG, CEO of Dean Guitars) and sometimes John West (Uli Roth, Royal Hunt, Artension). Based on the BKR Facebook page, Bobby Rondinelli was slated to take over drums after February 9th. That didn’t happen. Either way, both Bobby and Vinny are both in The Book, so I was set either way. The band comes out and opens with Death Alley Driver by Rainbow and they sound great. This show was the final night of he tour. Everything played was either by Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath or DIO. John West came out and went back and forth vocally with Owens on Burn. They both sounded great! Highlight for me, though, was Stand Up and Shout. Vinny’s insane snare work always blew me away in that song and watching him that close live gave me a new appreciation for his playing. He’s still a beast. Goldy’s playing was spot on as well. Effortless player and I’m glad I finally got to see him live. Last time I saw Ripper live was on the Jugulator tour in Norfolk, VA.
Half of the crowd left after BKR. Seriously. Uli was up next and half of those folks left. I’m still shaking my head over that. His band is made up of John West, Elliott Rubison, Kofi Baker (son of Ginger Baker), David Klosinski (guitarist from one of the Sky Academy classes) and Allesandro Bertoni on keys. Uli opens with All Night Long then in to Sails of Charon. Holy crap. To finally see him playing these Scorpions classics live was a dream come true. His playing style is so fluid and relaxed. He almost looks bored up there. But even watching the old vids of Scorpions, he always has that look. Klosinski played rhythm guitar and did some harmony soloing with Uli and was spot on with it. How cool it must be to have Uli as a mentor. John West sounded great. There’s only one Klaus, and West wasn’t trying to imitate him. He was a great fit. Kofi’s drumming was great and you could tell that he and the band followed Uli’s every move. He directed some jams with the wave of a hand, a nod or just some quick eye contact. Seeing them play We’ll Burn the Sky and In Trance gave me goosebumps. Maybe even a little verklempt during Burn the Sky. I absolutely love that song. The final 3 songs were all Hendrix covers, which is not surprising. I’m not a Hendrix fan but respect his influence. He’s obviously very important to Uli. It was a great show.
After the show I got to meet Vinny and Goldy. They were both very inquisitive about the book. They signed on the DIO group photo that features both of them, so it was great that Vinny was there. I also broke my own “no selfie 2015″ rule. Uli was available, too, but I had met him in 2000 and he signed the book back then. It was also getting late and I was dog tired. Great seeing some friends there as well.