It was a historic night for Detroit rock and roll, it just happened to take place in St. Paul, Minn.
Bob Seger and Kid Rock performed their first ever dual-headlining concert Friday night at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. The two have appeared at each other’s shows and performed together on various concert stages, but the sold-out show marked the first time the two Detroit rock icons performed a concert together.
Rock performed first, doing a 75-minute set of hits and material from his new album “Rebel Soul,” and was followed by Seger, who performed a truncated version of his current touring show. The two then performed a four song set together at the close of the show, which peaked with Seger joining Rock for Rock’s bawdy hit “Forever.”
Before the song, Rock explained that he never imagined he’d get to share a concert stage with his hero, Bob Seger. “But if you would have told me we were going to do this next song together,” Rock said, “I would have slapped the taste out of your mouth.”
“This was my idea!” Seger bellowed, as the two rolled into Rock’s 2001 rap-rock anthem. And Seger didn’t back down from the song’s more colorful moments, fully backing Rock on lines such as, “you can’t (four letter word) with rhymes like these!” Said Rock, “that’s MC Bob Seger on the microphone, y’all!”
Rock could barely hold himself together during the song, and Seger looked to be having a ball himself, stretching himself way out of his comfort zone. The unexpected duet was unquestionably the highlight of the show, and begs to be performed on a Michigan stage sooner than later.
Rock and Seger are both currently on the road, and their two tours crisscrossed in St. Paul. (Rock and Seger perform together again Saturday night in Fargo, N.D.) But the hope is that it leads to something greater, and with Rock still holding out on announcing his summer concert plans for Detroit, the timing seems perfect to perform a local show, or a series of shows, with Seger.
If that’s the case, St. Paul was an excellent test run. Besides “Forever,” the two teamed up at the end of the evening for “Night Moves,” “All Summer Long” and the show-closing “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” The two friends and long-time mutual admirers were genuinely pleased to be in one another’s presence, trading vocals and sharing grins as they performed arm in arm like two old friends. “This has been so much fun!” Seger said at the close of “Night Moves.” Answered Rock, “you’re telling me!”
During “All Summer Long,” Rock told the crowd, “I can now officially tell you what heaven looks like. It looks like being on stage in Minnesota with Bob Seger!” After “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” the two shared a huge hug on stage, a moment of celebration to close out a triumphant evening.
Rock, who isn’t used to being the opening act at concerts, humbly kicked the night off and thanked Seger “for even letting me touch the stage tonight.” His set featured several shout-outs to Seger, including a nod to hearing “Uncle Bob” ask fans, “people, you feeling funky tonight?” while growing up as a kid.
In addition to high octane standbys such as “Cowboy,” “Picture” and “Bawitdaba,” Rock’s set featured several songs from “Rebel Soul,” including the title track, “Chickens in the Pen” and “Celebrate,” which acted as the set opener. Rock brought lasers, confetti and his typical sense of go-for-broke showmanship to the show, and at one point stood atop a camouflage piano while singing “Born Free.”
Seger’s 75-minute set opened with “Detroit Made,” the new song he’s been opening his recent shows with, and rolled through standbys such as “Against the Wind,” “Turn the Page” and the recent set list addition, “Like a Rock.” “Travelin’ Man” roared with a renewed intensity, and only “Her Strut” hit a bum note in an otherwise high-powered set.
The two Bobs brought a lot of Detroit flavor to St. Paul, and it’s a vibe that would keep Detroit crowds buzzing for a long time. So what do you say guys, see you this summer?
photo by: Bruce kluckhohn