This past week, I was in Toronto to see Bob Seger in concert. For me, Bob Seger has always been (and probably will always be) the complete package. The music, the lyrics, the voice – nobody else quite measures up.
I’ve been a fan for a few decades, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen him live. When I found out he was coming to Toronto, I bought my concert ticket and booked my flight from Calgary ASAP. Could I afford it? Not really. Did I think twice about it? Hell, no. He’s saying that this might be his last tour, and I was willing to do whatever it took to see him.
Little did I know.
First, there was the cost of the concert ticket and the plane ticket, as well as taking four days off to get to a Tuesday-night concert on the other side of the country. No problem.
Trying to save a bit of money, I stayed with a friend in her studio apartment. I slept in a narrow walkway on the floor, on a makeshift bed of two cushions scavenged from the loveseat. I’m 5’10”. The loveseat? About 4’6”. But it was fine once I stuffed a chair cushion under my feet.
Her two cats had never witnessed someone sleeping on the floor. I was thoroughly and frequently inspected. I sleep on my back, which would be an unimportant piece of information unless you also know that the cats’ climbing tree was right beside the spot where I slept. You don’t know the meaning of “rude awakening” until a six-pound cat drops from a great height to land on your unprotected belly at three o’clock in the morning. Lucky thing I really like cats.
My friend kindly offered to pick me up after the concert, reasoning that it would be difficult to catch a cab downtown at that hour on a Tuesday night. I stood at the corner of Bay Street and the Gardiner Expressway waiting for her, watching the long line of cabs whisk all the other concert-goers home. The parking lot across the street emptied. Soon I stood completely alone in the darkness in an unfamiliar city. It was okay. I only had one proposition, and he graciously took no for an answer.
On the way home, I was singled out for the “random” physical search at the airport. Four out of the last five times I’ve flown, I’ve been chosen for this search, so I have to question the randomness of the selection process. Normally, I’d be mildly flattered that they can’t keep their hands off my body, but… really?
I figure the Airport Authority is missing a huge customer-service opportunity here. If I have to get groped, they should offer me a lineup of attractive security guys to choose from. Getting felt up could at least be an enjoyable experience.
As my plane descended in Calgary, I kept glancing out the window and seeing only whiteness. “Must be low overcast,” I said to myself. The jolt of wheels on landing strip alerted me to the fact that there really was only whiteness out there. A foot of snow had fallen the previous night. I wore runners.
It was the best trip ever.
Seriously. I loved every minute of the concert. He put on a great show, and the joy of being there was well worth a few minor inconveniences. I didn’t come down from my concert high (non-chemically-induced, thank-you) for days. Hell, I’d pay good money to hear Bob Seger sing anything. Even “Happy Birthday”.
Any other Seger fans out there? What’s your best/worst concert experience?
12 thoughts on “Die-Hard Bob Seger Fan”
Thank you so much! I appreciate tha! I promise you I’d share it with you if I could. Thanks again.
Bob Seger? I liked Seger when I was a much younger man. I was working part-time as a machinist years and years ago. We’d just picked up a big rush job from a big, finicky customer, and it had to be done on time or else. So my boss talked a good machinist he knew at another shop into taking his two weeks of vacation all at once and coming over and doing the job for us. We were maxed out at the time already and had no one to spare.
The guy says okay, loads up his tools and comes on over. I was working in one of the outbuildings on a marvelous old 50 horsepower K&T universal mill set up as vertical. Gad, I loved that machine. Maybe thirty years old and had probably only 20 hours of use on it when my boss picked it up. Just perfect. Life was much, much simpler then. Sorta miss all that.
So one warm summer day this guy backs his Dodge Charger into the outbuilding, pops the trunk and pulls out a huge tool box, then slides the biggest ghetto blaster I’ve ever seen out of the back seat. Seriously, the thing was probably four feet wide, three feet tall, and a foot thick. Just gigantic.
I’ve got my little portable cassette machine sitting on a shelf by my mill, cranking out some Chuck Mangionne and Maynard Ferguson, thinking I’m just too cool. (Actually, I was pretty cool. I’ve been a trumpet player since I was eleven or twelve.) Until the guy fires up Bob Seger on the ghetto blaster at max volume, and I listen to max volume Bob Seger for TWO FREAKING WEEKS.
No compromise, no negotiation, no conciliation. Just Bob Seger cranked up to eleven.
It was years before I could stand to listen to him again. I’m all better now. Doubt if I could sit through a whole concert, though…
Wonder what the machinist listens to these days. More to the point, I wonder if he CAN listen to anything. My ears rang for days after he went back to his day job. 🙂
Yikes. That would be enough to turn anybody off. I like Chuck Mangione, but I’m a throwback to an earlier era – Louis Armstrong is still my all-time fave trumpet player! Do you still play?
Yes! I love it, and have for over fifty years. And I’m a Satchmo fan for even longer. He and Al Hirt were my main early influences. By the time I hit high school, Herb Alpert and the TJB were all the rage. I could play along with their records (mostly). Like Arnie’s guitar, my horn is the longest serious relationship of my life. 🙂
You’re lucky to have that! I feel the same way about my piano, but it’s a little harder to give it a hug (and it’s not much of a traveller). 😉
Granted. It’s hard to beat a trumpet for portability. Saw your YouTube piano video. Nicely done. Aside from your obvious skill, your love for the instrument shows. Again, nicely done.
Thank you! I wish I had more time to practice, and my greatest dream is to be able to play by ear – I’m utterly lost without music. I’d love to be Blue Eddy! Or this guy: Tommy Johnson (I think of him whenever I write Blue Eddy).
YESSS!! That’s the guy I HEAR when I read about Blue Eddy! I’ve been able to play by ear since I could play a scale on my horn. I can read music when I need to, but I rarely need to. 🙂
That’s why I’m still alive, most likely. I was busy driving my parents crazy about then. Hated every second I spent in school, rebellious as I could be and still stay out of jail. But I loved playing my horn more than I hated school, and it was no-pass, no-play, so I had to at least pass to stay in the band. So I barely scraped by. And I mean by the skin of my teeth. After high school came the Army, and I grew up and became a responsible adult. That pretty much blew it for a shot as a pro musician. 🙂
But I’ve still practiced and played for the sheer pleasure of it for all these years. I can still play most any song I’ve ever heard. It’s a gift, pure and simple.
You know, I’ve never envied anyone for anything, material or otherwise, but I envy your gift with every fibre of my being! I’m so glad you’re using and enjoying it (and that it got you through school and your parents’ wrath). 🙂
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I’ve never been a big concert-goer, so I have no stories worth telling. But I’m glad you survived — and enjoyed — the Bob Seger event in Toronto. If it was worth enduring airport security, it must have been good.
Actually, this is only about the fourth or fifth concert I’ve ever attended. The last one I went to was probably nearly 3o years ago. Scary when you start adding up the years…