I’ve never understood the concept of liking something ironically. I’ve always suspected that it’s just a weak cover to enjoy something unfashionable that you legitimately like.
Personally I don’t care if my tastes are deemed fashionable or not. I like what I like without apology or pretense. And I Love Bob Seger.
I realize I’m about 20-30 years younger than most of the demographic of his fan base, but I’m no less passionate. Seger’s music cuts to my heart in a way that even my favorite contemporary artists can’t.
Last night he played to a crowd of nearly 19,000 in Brooklyn, and while I was initially priced out, I managed to snag a last minute discounted ticket to what was surely a once in a lifetime show.
Nostalgia accounts for a large part of the reason that I love Seger’s music. My mom loves Bob Seger and played his music when I was growing up, he’s also legend in our mutual home state (Michigan). In short I can’t hear a Bob Seger song without drifting away in my mind and heart to a bittersweet place in my past.
This beautifully written article (The Joyous, Lonely Soul of Bob Seger) articulates why fans like me love his music — it shifts from perfectly desolate and lonely to an a joyful celebration that makes you want to roll down the windows and sing at the top of your voice.
In the article the author, Scott Sparling, says “to appreciate ‘Like a Rock,’ you have to be old enough for the lyric “Twenty years now, where’d they go?” to be freighted with both affection and heartbreak. If you don’t feel that yet, wait a decade or two: You’ll get there.”
Twenty years ago I was not quite 12 years old, and while that is likely not the two decades of time he’s referring to, those lyrics and many more of Seger’s do fill me with both affection and heartbreak. Hearing songs last night he said he hadn’t played it on tour in 26 years (Like a Rock), or one that I remember dancing around the living room with my mom to (Old Time Rock and Roll), or one that I shared the last dance at my wedding to (We’ve Got Tonight) made it a once in a lifetime moment for me.
As Sparling says, to music snobs, Seger’s a meat and potatoes rocker. But to me he’s a poet, to me he’s home.
Seger played almost exclusively from his “greatest hits” (a long list), it was a show and to end a career on, it was a show for fans to sing along to, to scream and dance along to, to be transported by. He’s still recording new songs, but at 68-years-old, a multi-city, multi-month, giant arena tour isn’t likely to happen again. I’m glad that I got the chance to see and hear him in person, I’m grateful for the moments when he played songs like “Night Moves,” “Against the Wind,” and my personal favorite “We’ve Got Tonight,” and my voice echoed with thousands of feeling each syllable.
Many of Seger’s most evocative songs are full of nostalgic for long summer nights, and the struggles of of growing up (“I’m older now but still running against the wind”). In the Village Voice review of last night’s show the author said “For an evening, it was any year the audience associated the songs with and wanted to pretend never ended.”
I don’t wish those years had never ended, but I’m happy to relive them with Bob Seger anytime.