Bob Seger Rolls Out Hit-Packed Set at Runaway Train Tour Opener

Scott Legato/WireImage
Bob Seger performs at The Palace of Auburn Hills on April 11, 2013 in Auburn Hills, Mich.

There was plenty of old time rock and roll, and some new wrinkles, as Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band opened their North American Runaway Train tour on Thursday night (Aug. 24) at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

And all of that played well to a packed house that, true to form at most Seger shows, could have carried the concert singing in his stead if the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Famer let it.

Over the course of 21 songs and nearly two hours, Seger and the Silver Bullets, whose membership swelled up to 14 at times -- including the four-piece Motor City Horns, three backing vocalists and longtimers Alto Reed (saxophone), Chris Campbell (bass) and Craig Frost (keyboards) -- took the Toledo crowd down memory lane with a tightly-spaced set whose energy never wavered, even on the ballads.

Seger -- in strong voice and sporting  an Olde English D t-shirt and, later, a crowd-pleasing Toledo Mud Hens tee -- didn’t skimp on the well-embedded favorites, but there were some welcome returns – such as “You’ll Accomp’ny Me,” which he told the crowd he hadn’t played in 25 years -- and a first-ever performance of the title track to his 1991 album The Fire Inside.

He also tapped his most recent release, 2014’s Ride Out for a pair of songs, the environmentally conscious “It’s Your World” and a pumping rendition of Steve Earle’s “The Devil’s Right Hand.” The band, meanwhile, was freshened by a new drummer, Greg Morrow out of Nashville -- a precise player who replaced Don Brewer -- passed the demanding test of the segue between “Travelin’ Man” and “Beautiful Loser.” And former Silver Bullet guitarist Mark Chatfield returned to the ranks as an auxiliary player on about a third of the songs.

The plentiful array of hits, meanwhile, started with the traditional show opener “Roll Me Away” and ran through a gamut of rockers (“The Fire Down Below,” “Her Strut,” “Old Time Rock and Roll,” Willie MItchell’s “Come To Poppa” and the main set-closing “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man") and richly arranged ballads such as “Main Street,” “Like A Rock” and the on-the-road paean “Turn The Page,” which Seger preceded with an extended chat about its origins.

The two encores delivered Teflon favorites “Against The Wind,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Night Moves” and “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” during which a grinning  Seger noted “sweet 16 turns 72!” The Runaway Train Tour currently has dates booked through Nov. 4, with more expected to be announced. Seger has been recording new songs, primarily in Nashville, but no release plans have been revealed for the material.

Seger’s opening night set list included:

Roll Me Away

Trying To Live My Life Without You

The Fire Down Below

You’ll Accomp’ny Me

Old Time Rock and Roll

Main Street

Come To Poppa

Her Strut

Like A Rock

The Devil’s Right Hand

It’s Your World

The  Fire Inside

We’ve Got Tonight

Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser

Turn the Page

Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man

Encore 1:

Against The Wind

Hollywood Nights

Encore 2:

Night Moves

Rock  and Roll Never Forgets