I saw him in Portland earlier this Bob Seger 50th Anniversary 1970-2020 signatures shirt year and it was great. He played a lot of great songs and I’d say he really enjoyed being there. There was no problem with his energy, the band was good, and so on. For me, one of the highlights was when he did “Forever Young” with a video backdrop of those artists that have past away in the last few years (Bowie, Prince, Frey, and some less recent like Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain).
But, that said, his voice isn’t what it was. It was pretty good, but he can no longer hit the notes on some songs (like Hollywood Nights). So, he let the crowd do it. That’s okay, I was one of them, and I can’t hit the notes either. But, I go to hear the music and if they are not at their prime, it’s not the same. The answer, unless you are with Mr. Seger at this very moment, has to be “I don’t know” and here is the “Why”: If Mr. Seger has been alive up to now, the question is impossible to answer because he may have gone to his reward a split second ago, before anyone has even become aware of it and certainly before it appears on Wikipedia. If Mr. Seger passed away alone, nobody may know it for awhile. Unless you are with a living, breathing Bob Seger this very instant, there is no way of knowing for sure. If he has passed on, the question is much easier: Dead. Why? There may be multiple answers in the media, but the death certificate may just say “cardiac arrest,” the most immediate cause of death. As far as I know, however, Mr. Seger is alive and I certainly hope he stays that way for a very long time. I saw him in the mid-2000s when he came back after an eleven-year sabbatical to spend time with his wife and two young children, but I kept thinking to myself man, he must have been something back in the day. Seger came from an old-school performing tradition—think James Brown, Jackie Wilson—where you leave everything you’ve got on the stage. As he wrote in his great song “Turn the Page,” “Out there in the spotlight, you’re a million miles away / Every ounce of energy, you try to give away / As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play.” When Seger was coming out of his sabbatical with a new studio album and tour, late-night talk-show host David Letterman had him on his show, and Letterman, a peer of Seger’s and fully aware of Seger’s reputation as a perfomer, asked Seger if, after eleven years away from the stage, he was ready to return to it, and Seger said, “I’ll go through a few more ballads.”