There was nothing artificial about Bob Seger's pacemaking at a sold-out Capital Centre last night. Alternating between aggressive rockers and introspective, anthem-like ballads, Seger once again proved himself the great link between rock tradition and contemporary social concern. Whether exploring the alternate edges of memory in the aggressive "Still the Same" or the nostalgic "Main Street," Seger delivered his strong lyrics and memorable melodies in the hoarse and fiery style that has been his trademark for 15 years.

The joy of Seger's performance, outside of its vitality, was its variety. His reflective, bittersweet songs, such as "Against the Wind" and "Fire Lake," evoked soft-gauze imagery. Yet on "Love to Watch Her Strut" and "Horizontal Bop," Seger finessed the funk to its bottom line.

The air at the Capital Centre was filled with top-flight song as Seger played favorites all night long. Hearing them thrown down in rapid succession was a reminder of just how fine and versatile a songwriter Seger is. There were no weak moments, only varying levels of intensity. Seger's Silver Bullet Band, saxophonist Alto Reed in particular, continue to astound; they played with the conviction that marks them as lifers in the rock quarry. Bob Seger continues to work within a traditional rock framework; he's a fundamentalist who accents the fun. Last night, he was preaching for believers.