What do you get when you take rock n’ roll, mix it with a heavy dose of rap, shake in a little seasoning of country and then add a dash of gospel? You get an unbelievable show, that’s what you get! And it all comes courtesy of a guy who comes from the Motor City. Kid Rock is his name, and I’ll be damned if I’ve ever seen anything like him on stage.
So let’s start at the beginning, because I want to give this show it’s due. The night started with a band I had never heard of called Back Door Slam. Although I admittedly didn’t pay them much attention (had to get beer and chat with friends), from what I heard of them, they sounded pretty good. I’ll have to check into more of their music a little bit later. But as a warm up act…not bad!
About 20 minutes after their set ended, classic southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd hit the stage. The first time I saw Skynyrd I sat in the 8th row dead center and I remember thinking how much these guys just LOOKED like rock stars. The frontman for Skynyrd, Johnny Van Zant, is all hair and power vocals. The 4 guitarists all pounding on their axes. The drummer a blur in the background. Tonight’s set didn’t exactly adhere to what my previous memory was of Skynyrd, but it was good enough! They had an abreviated set that included quite a few of their greatest hits including “Sweet Home Alabama”, “That Smell”, “Gimme Back My Bullets” and the grandaddy of all classic rock songs, “Freebird”.
After their set was over, a crew of about 50 people took over the stage to clear out Skynyrds’ instruments and set up for Kid Rock. Another 20 minutes later and the lights went out and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” roared over the loudspeaker. Here’s the first thing you learn from a Kid Rock show…the guy understands where his roots are. With his current song, “All Summer Long”, stealing riffs from Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London”, Rock knows where his heart is and even though he could be classified as anything from rap to country in some cases, his background is definately classic rock. So when he hit the stage to Journey, it was all a set-up for what was gonna be a big-ass throwdown of classic rock. And it was…with a lot of everything else tossed in!
Now I had heard that Kid puts on a good show. But I also have heard that about other acts that I have seen and been disappointed with. And with the few albums that he has out, I figured he would have maybe 10-12 songs to get too and then call it a night. Well…I was wrong. This guy is the consumate entertainer and he brings it at all levels. The great thing about Kid Rock is that he seems accessible. With all of the headlines of his marriage to Pamela Anderson and his pimpin’ of Hollywood, Kid Rock comes across as a regular guy who you could meet at the bar and chat with. During this performance, he thanked the audience for spending their hard-earned cash to come see his show and promised us a good time. And on that he did deliver!
He opened with “Rock N’ Roll Jesus” and it just got louder from there. Songs included in the set list were “American Badass”, “Cowboy” (with a funny spin on the Dukes of Hazzard theme mixed in!), “Lowlife”, “All Summer Long” (without a guest appearance of Lynyrd Skynyrd…which might have been the biggest disappointment of the evening), “Amen” (where he asked the audience to high-five anyone they didn’t know. It was like being at church and shaking hands, only much cooler!), and a country-tinged backslap song called “Half Your Age” which was pretty funny and Rock’s female drummer came out to verbally “spar” with him.
At that point, Kid paid homage to his rap roots by bringing out the legendary rapper Reverend Run from Run DMC. Now…to actually see Run and Kid onstage is worth the cost of admission alone. Covering classics such as “You Be Illin'”, It’s Tricky” and “Walk This Way”, Run & Kid bounced onstage and whipped the crowd into a frenzy! From where I was standing, I looked out into the crowd and not one person wasn’t waving their hands or clapping. It was really an amazing experience and one I’ll never forget!
Run was onstage for maybe 15 minutes or so, but Kid wasn’t done. Following that he hit the turntables for some scratching, then played some guitar riffs and then hopped on the drums for a rousing rendition of “Cat Scratch Fever”. Once he was done with that, he had a few more songs up his sleeve that included “Only God Knows Why”, “So Hott” and “Bawitdaba” as the finale.
It really was an amazing show and if the Rebels N’ Rock show hits your town, I would definitely recommend you plop down the cash to go check it out! Kid Rock might be the best thing going for classic rock right now and his energy and charisma is one of the bright spots in music. You may not like the image, but ya gotta like the man! Kid Rock rocks better than anyone I’ve ever seen onstage and I will definitely go see him again someday. But right now I’m gonna go throw on “Devil Without A Cause” and let Christopher jam to “Bawitdaba”. You never know…maybe he’ll grow up and sample something of Kid’s and be a big rock star someday! Hey…if it can happen to a kid from Detroit, it can happen to a kid from Kentucky…right? 🙂