A look back at some of the memorable events at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — It was Bob Seger who took the stage Saturday night. It was the Palace of Auburn Hills that took the final bow.
Seger’s two-hour show provided a fitting, sentimental coda as fans and staffers said farewell to a venue that has reigned as the region’s leading concert arena.
Twenty-nine years after Sting opened the Palace with The Lazarus Heart, Seger and the Silver Bullet Band gave the building its final song onstage, at about 11:10 p.m.: Rock and Roll Never Forgets. A closing, squealing guitar lick from Rob McNelley was the final exclamation mark as metro Detroit gets ready to talk about the Palace of Auburn Hills in the past tense.
The night drew an announced crowd of 17,000 — every nook and cranny filled, every suite packed — to make it Seger’s 17th Palace sellout, a venue record he shares with Neil Diamond.
The concert was dependable Bob Seger: spirited, dedicated, upbeat. But it was a bittersweet evening. Some longtime Palace workers were seen in tears at the side of the stage as Seger, acoustic guitar in hand, performed Against the Wind, his reflective rumination on the march of time.
The Palace remains in blue-ribbon condition, still sparkling and handsome, thanks to millions of dollars consistently pumped into improvements since it opened in 1988. Walking around the arena Saturday, or sitting in one of the leather seats installed across the lower bowl just two years ago, it felt surreal to imagine the wrecking balls that will come swinging through.
For Seger, it was the second hometown show this month that had extra meaning attached: Just two weeks prior, he’d played DTE Energy Music Theatre, his first performance in 21 years at the old Pine Knob.
The 72-year-old rocker, an avid Detroit Pistons fan and concertgoer who spent plenty of time at the Palace onstage and off, arrived Saturday very much aware of the moment.
“Thanks for everything, Palace. We…