Concert review: Kid Rock proves he knows his audience
By Ross Raihala
Pop Music Critic
Article Last Updated: 05/27/2008 02:53:54 PM CDT
Here's a message to Kid Rock fans who figured they could skip his Saturday-night gig at the Target Center after catching his sold-out Myth show last fall.
You blew it.
Not only was his arena concert entirely different, it was also arguably the better of the two.
Over the course of 2 1/2 rarely dull hours, Kid Rock made like a trailer-park Bruce Springsteen in front of a modest, but deliriously happy, crowd of about 6,000. His high-energy, exuberant performance backed by the ever-reliable Twisted Brown Trucker Band felt like he was the biggest star on the Earth. But, at the same time, his sleazeball-next-door likeability suggested he was the type of guy you could catch a beer with at the corner bar.
It was a nifty trick from surprisingly savvy 37-year-old Detroit native Robert James Ritchie. Sensing his time as the king of rap-rock has come and gone, he's diversified his sound to incorporate classic rock and outlaw country to fine effect. And instead of trying to sell records to 14-year-olds, he's homed in on former 14-year-olds who still remember roller-skating every Friday night to the J. Geils Band's "Centerfold."
To drive home that point, Kid Rock staged the night in an old-fashioned revue style, with the J. Geils Band's lead singer, Peter Wolf, as well as Rev. Run from Run-D.M.C. incorporated into the proceedings. That meant Wolf got to tackle "Love Stinks" early in the set, while Rev. Run and Kid Rock later teamed for an incendiary "Walk This Way."
Between the guest spots, the main attraction tackled all his big hits ("Bawitdaba," "Cowboy," "Picture") as well as more recent material ("So Hott," "Amen," "Half Your Age").
He may even have a new radio anthem up his sleeve in "All Summer Long," a ridiculously catchy and utterly dopey number that shamelessly lifts hooks from both Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."
Really, pretty much all of it worked. Both Wolf and Rev. Run share an obvious chemistry with Kid Rock (the latter is even collaborating on a joint album project dubbed "Running with the Kid"). In a brilliant move, he thanked the audience for paying for a concert ticket during these lean times. He urged the crowd to turn around and high-five the folks behind them. He even built in an intermission for all the beer drinkers out there to take a bathroom break. At this point, it's become clear Kid Rock is in this for the long haul, and I, for one, can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Pop Music Critic Ross Raihala can be reached at email@example.com or 651-228-5553.
Read more about the local music scene on his blog, "The Ross Who Knew Too Much," at blogs.twincities.com/ross.