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Music Review: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Live Bullet

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Bob Seger was eight studio albums into his career when he decided to record his two performances at Cobo Hall in Detroit on the evenings of September 4 and 5, 1975. The resultant release would be one of the best live albums in rock history. It would also make Seger a star and his follow-up, Night Moves, would put the word super in front of star. Live Bullet would go on to sell five million copies in the United States and another two million in Canada.

Even though Live Bullet is comprised of his pre-1976 material it remains a career defining statement. His sound is not as smooth as it would become but it has energy and even a sense of desperation which may be at the heart of its appeal. This is probably the Seger album I have played the most over the years and I have even replaced my worn vinyl copy with the CD which I do not do very often. It’s that good.

Four tracks from Beautiful Loser lead off the affair. “Nutbush City Limits” is pure midwest rock ‘n’ roll and quickly establishes him as a formidable live performer. “Travelin’ Man” and “Beautiful Loser” are two very good songs that combine together into a great combination and are far superior to the studio tracks. This is where his sense of desperation begins to kick in as he almost can sense this may be his last chance at national stardom. “Jody Girl,” which is the best of his early ballads, finds his voice straining and emotional.

“Turn The Page” may be one of the best known live tracks in history. This weary song of a musician on the road was a foundation of FM radio fare for years. It was and is a classic example of live being better than studio.

“Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” loses some of its studio polish as it is given an energetic workout. Even his old regional hit “Heavy Music” is revived with horns which give it a funky feel.

If you have a pulse the last twenty minutes will get you up out of your chair. He just roars through “Katmandu” and “Get Out Of Denver.” “Lookin’ Back” connects the two songs while eight and a half minutes of “Let It Rock” leave you wanting more.

Live Bullet is a standard setter when it comes to live albums. I’m not young anymore but when I listen to this concert release I still crank the volume up real loud.

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