Concert preview: A Bob Seger retrospective

At this point in their decade-spanning careers, still-active musicians, actors and film directors who helped define the soundtrack for the Baby Boomer generation should be considered living and breathing museum exhibitions.

When Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band take the stage at the Bryce Jordan Center on May 2, they’ll bring with them more than half a century of experience and influence as one of the more defining voices of a generation.

A semi-spokesperson for the overlooked and underappreciated, Seger has penned some of the most iconic working class songs in modern American rock ’n’ roll history. With a do-it-yourself ethos ingrained in him from his days spent playing bars and clubs in Detroit, songs such as “Turn the Page,” “Against the Wind” and “Night Moves” took him from a local star to an American mainstay.

Much of Seger’s music has strong ties to roots and heartland rock, and his ear for formulating melody and rhythm provide the perfect the perfect backbone for his strongest skill set: his lyrics.

A member of the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class, Seger is a poet of sorts with a visual lyrical flair that flies from his music. He’s a fantastic story teller who has the ability to weave the metaphorical, anecdotal and the literal, remaining faithful to the truth with an expressive and passionate prose that makes his music stand apart from those of his contemporaries.

It’s this strong and effective song-crafting ability that also made Seger such an in-demand collaborative partner and had him working with the likes of the Eagles (co-writing the 1979 No. 1-charting song “Heartache Tonight), fellow Michiganders Grand Funk Railroad and Kid Rock, providing piano and vocals to Rock’s 2010 album “Born Free.”

While Seger is able to boast of an extensive back catalog (including an upcoming “to be announced” album set to be released this year), it’s his two properly recorded live albums that really showcase the muscian’s package. 1976’s “Live Bullet” and 1981’s “Nine Tonight” are Seger in a nutshell and have him playing his most well-known and well-loved songs in an ideal live setting. The rawness, power and energy behind songs like “Travelin’ Man” and the Tina Turner cover “Nutbush City Limits” from “Live Bullet” are showstoppers that have since become iconic, leading renowned music critic David Marsh to call the record “one of the best live albums ever made.”

Although both of these live albums are more than 30 years old, the soul and the integrity of Seger is still in abundance when he performs live and the ability to see him in concert isn’t something that should “wait until next time” because a “next time” isn’t always guaranteed.

These integral artists of yesteryear are vital pieces to the anthropological study of ourselves as a culture, a culture that Bob Seger has been expertly writing about since picked up his first guitar close to 60 years ago.