A wealth of guests -- including Sheryl Crow, Peter Wolf, Martina McBride, Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons, Uncle Kracker and Anita Baker -- and nearly 60,000 of his "closest friends" helped Kid Rock celebrate his 40th birthday on Saturday night (Jan. 15) at Ford Field in his home town of Detroit.
Kicking off, appropriately enough, with the Beatles' "Birthday," the three-hour marathon was part concert, part celebration and part civic pep rally, an exhaustive and exhausting testimony to Rock's 20-plus years of recording and his contributions to the Detroit area and the state of Michigan. He even received a Spirit of Detroit Award on stage from the president of the Detroit City Council -- as well as a customized 2011 Camaro SS from Chevrolet, which seemed a bit ballsy in a place called FORD Field.
Rock, whose actual birthday is Monday, gave as well -- including $25,000 each to four local charities. But the main gift of the night was the music, with Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band in tight, charged form amidst the pyrotechnics, lasers and extensive video production. Former Twisted Brown Trucker hype man Uncle Kracker, who Rock introduced as his "best friend," appeared for their 2010 duet piece, "Good To Be Me," while McBride -- whose husband, John, was celebrating his birthday Saturday -- came up from Nashville to sing her part on "Care" from Rock's latest album, "Born Free" (the imprisoned T.I. appeared via video). Wolf, who was part of Rock's 2008 Rock N Roll Revival Tour, gave a fleet-footed performance of the J. Geils Band's "Detroit Breakdown," while fellow Revival Tour alumnus Run joined Rock for a Run-DMC medley that included "Rock Box," "King of Rock" and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way."
Crow -- who Rock asked to have his baby while hosting the 2010 CMT Music Awards -- was on hand for a three-song set, recreating their chart-topping 2001 duet "Picture" along with a bump 'n' grind through Free's "All Right Now" and a smooth rendering of the "Born Free" collaboration "Collide," which culminated with Rock and Crow slow dancing. Cindy Crawford and her husband, Rande Gerber, led the singing of "Happy Birthday," while Anita Baker sang "The Star Spangled Banner" before Rock and company finished the show with "Born Free's" title track. Video tributes from Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson and Beavis & Butthead -- whose creator, Mike Judge, was in attendance -- were peppered throughout the night.
Rock and Twisted Brown Trucker more than held their own when the guests weren't on stage, roaring through hits such as "Cowboy," "All Summer Long," "American Bad Ass" and "Bawitdaba" along with eight of the 12 tracks from "Born Free" and the tongue-in-cheek "Forty" from the companion EP "Racing Father Time." He also delighted his Detroit faithful by dipping deep into his catalog for less prominent fare such as "Welcome 2 the Party (Ode 2 the Old School)" and, in a medley, "Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp," Yo-Da-Lin in the Valley" (the first song off his 1990 debut "Grits Sandwiches For Breakfast"), "Feel This," "Fist of Rage," "I Am the Bullgod," "Where U At, Rock?" and "Forever."
After the show, an ebullient Rock partied in one of the stadium's private clubs with friends and families, along with members of the Detroit Lions and Detroit Red Wings. A turntable-shaped birthday cake sat untouched at the party, but Rock finished the night on some real turntables, spinning in the wee hours at a nearby bar and restaurant owned by hockey great Chris Chelios.
Rock and Twisted Brown Trucker start their "Born Free" tour in earnest with shows Jan. 21-22 in Saginaw, Mich.
Here is Kid Rock's birthday bash setlist:
"Cowboy"/"Theme From Dukes of Hazzard ("Good Ol' Boys")
"God Bless Saturday"
"Welcome 2 the Party (Ode 2 the Old School)"
"All Summer Long"
"Slow My Roll"
"Good To Be Me" (with Uncle Kracker)
"You Never Met a Motherf***er Quite Lke Me"
"American Bad Ass"
"Centerfold"/"Detroit Breakdown" (with Peter Wolf)
"Care" (with Martina McBride)
Medley: "Rock Box"/"King of Rock"/"Walk This Way" (with Rev. Run)
"Rock Bottom Blues"
Medley: "Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp"/Yo-Da-Lin in the Valley"/"Feel This"/"Fist of Rage"/"I Am the Bullgod"/"Where U At, Rock?"/"Forever"
"Picture" (with Sheryl Crow)
"All Right Now" (with Crow)
"Collide" (with Crow)
"Rock N Roll Jesus"
"3 Sheets to the Wind"
"The Star Spangled Banner" (by Anita Baker)
SOURCE: Gary Graff / Billboard.com