The Seger File An unofficial web site about the music of Bob Seger Last updated April 2000 Edited by Scott Sparling email@example.com
A poster for the famous second show at the Oakland Coliseum; Seger at or near Crisler Arena.
For educational purposes only, compare and contrast the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band versus the world's greatest rock singer: who cooks and who chugs?
(For extra credit, what other Chuck Berry song was covered by both Seger and the Stones?)
When the Stones played the Oakland Coliseum in November 1969, it opened a new era in rock and roll bootlegs. There were other, earlier bootlegs -- but LIVEr Than You'll Ever Be was the boot that seemed to capture everyone's imagination...so much so that the "30th Anniversary Edition" was re-released on CD a couple of years ago.
The John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Ann Arbor was never bootlegged to any large degree. The show was filmed for a documentary, but the resulting movie, "Ten for Two" has been shown only rarely at festivals. Portions of the rally -- including Seger's short set with Teegarden and Van Winkle -- were broadcast on WABX radio in Detroit. Seger was in great voice that night. His set included a short version of Let It Rock, a version of Bo Diddley/Who Do You Love where Skip "Van Winkle" handled most of the vocals, Lookin' Back, Oh Carol, and God, Love and Rock 'n Roll (Tee and Vee's hit, with Seger on backup vocals).
Sinclair, by the way, was the nominal head of the White Panther Party -- a kind of a hippie/yippie version of the Black Panther Party sharing basically the same values -- except that the White Panthers were a lot more interested in drugs, sex and rock and roll than politics. "Kick out the jams, m-----f-----s" was about as evolved as the White Panther political thinking got.
That phrase, of course, was the battle cry of the MC5. It was also why the MC5's first album had to be sold under the counter in most record stores -- that and a little reference in the liner notes to an unconventional (and illegal-in-most-states) sex act, which they suggesting performing on a well-known Christian deity.
Still, the MC5 were Michigan's most famous band of the late '60s and early '70s. Their notoriety/fame far eclipsed Seger's at the time. So much so that when Country Joe and the Fish played Cobo Hall in 1969, lead guitar player Berry Melton opened the show by saying "We're happy to be here in the land of Kick Out the Jams." (To which a sardonic Joe replied, "There were some jams here earlier...strawberry, raspberry...we kicked 'em out.")
Sinclair himself had been sentenced to prison in July 1969 for 10 years -- he'd been busted for possession of two marijuana cigarettes. (Hence the John Lennon lyric in "John Sinclair": "They gave him ten for two...what else can the judges do?")
Amazingly, three days after the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, John Sinclair was freed. An example of the power of music? Of the political revolutionary muscle of the people? Of Seger's great set? Well...maybe. What actually happened is that the Michigan Supreme Court ordered Sinclair released. They later overturned his conviction and ruled that Michigan's marijuana statutes were unconstitutional and void.
It makes you wonder: What would have happened if the court had gotten around to this ruling a week earlier? Would there still have been a concert? Would we have Seger's wonderful version of "Oh Carol"? Would we ever learn to dance, and would it take us all night and day?
Okay, school's out. Take a five-minute break, then levitate back to the News and Updates page. And no running in the halls.