The TD Garden has played host to hundreds of shows that have featured hearty singalongs by adoring audiences. And then there are Bob Seger shows, where the crowd raises its collective voice with such volume, precision, and ardor that the fan choir comes close to matching Seger’s own unbridled enthusiasm for the music.
Saturday night’s show by the classic rocker and his trusty Silver Bullet Band was no exception, as a packed house spent two hours happily retracing steps on “Mainstreet” and reliving those frisky teenage “Night Moves.”
But the Michigander’s performance was never pure nostalgia as he dealt a handful of tracks from his strong new album, “Ride Out,” into the set. And if the ovations weren’t quite as long, the barnburning Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute “Hey Gypsy” and the winsome Woody Guthrie-Wilco lilter “California Stars” still produced a charge.
That Seger is without vanity, posturing, or affectation — this is a man who wears a goofy black headband and earnestly pumps his fists — only adds to his Everyman Rocker charm.
And it is possible that every man — and woman — in the Garden Saturday was singing during a shiver-inducing version of “Turn the Page” that managed to outdo previous singalongs to Seger’s melancholy ode to Mr. or Ms. Right Now on “We’ve Got Tonight,” the unkillable chestnut of curmudgeonly complaint “Old Time Rock and Roll,” and the naughty bump and grind of “The Fire Down Below.”
The Silver Bullet Band, a baker’s dozen-strong and infused with new blood from Nashville, where Seger recorded “Ride Out," was with him every step of the way. The horns burst on “Tryin' to Live My Life Without You” and a trio of backing singers injected heavenly soul into everything from “Like a Rock” to a new version of Steve Earle’s "The Devil’s Right Hand.” Alto Reed re-created his famous sax riffs, Rob McNelley got greasy on slide guitar, and drummer Don Brewer — also of Grand Funk Railroad — provided percussive punctuation.
The nonstop party that is the J. Geils Band (still, sadly, sans its namesake guitarist) was the perfect opener. Indefatigable frontman Peter Wolf — spinning, shimmying, dropping to his knees and testifying — ripped into its own amped up classics like “Centerfold” and “Must of Got Lost” and Geils-associated covers like “Lookin’ for a Love” with vigor.