Bob Seger turned 75 on Wednesday, but in his typical low-key style he didn’t commemorate the landmark birthday with a social-media post or a public declaration of any sort. He’s basically been living off the grid since the conclusion of his farewell tour on November 1st, 2019, which turned out to be excellent timing since COVID-19 was months away from forcing him (and everyone else) into an indefinite break from the road anyway.
Farewell tours are almost always little more than an elaborate ruse. They’re a means for acts that are seeing diminishing ticket sales (often thanks to a show that hasn’t changed much in decades) to triple their ticket prices and cajole ambivalent fans into shelling out one last time for fear they’ll never get another chance. Most of us know we’re being conned, but we go along with it because there’s always a tiny chance it truly is the last go-round.
Seger’s Roll Me Away: The Final Tour felt like a very different situation. He didn’t pull a Mötley Crüe and sign a “Cessation of Touring Agreement” or even grant any in-depth interviews talking about his decision to step off the road, but his advanced age and honest nature made it feel like the real deal. He sang his 1978 deep cut “The Famous Final Scene” at several of the shows and it felt like he meant every word of it.
It’s sad to think that he’ll likely never tour again because Seger truly is one of the great performers of the rock era. Check out this video of him performing “Against the Wind” at Landover, Maryland’s Capital Center on October 1st, 1980. The album was released earlier that year and he was in peak form.
Key members of the Silver Bullet Band like guitarist Drew Abbott left the fold since that tour and Seger’s voice did lose some of its range, but his live show was stellar right up to the very last night of the Roll Me Away tour. Let’s all hope he’s enjoying his retirement and having a nice quarantine. Maybe it’s finally giving him the time to remaster his early albums and get them back into print. He’s finally run out of excuses to keep them hidden away.