You would think front row seats at Kid Rock's recent birthday bash at Detroit's Ford Field would satisfy even the most fervent fans, but not Bay City natives Kristie and Mark Stasinski.
Friday night, they sipped drinks at the Jim Beam VIP Party at The Dow Event Center, waiting to take their sixth row seats on the launch of the Detroit rocker's "Born Free" tour. They held tickets to the next night, too, building their tally to more than 30 shows, not including the Kid Rock cruise they took last year and the one they're taking in April.
"Once you've seen Kid Rock, other concerts are disappointing," Kristie Stasinski said, and Friday's concert took it to a new level.
Long before Kid Rock took the stage, some 6,500 fans were raising foam-headed glasses to the night. Camera phones flashed as they took pictures of one another, as if capturing the moment for the day they'll tell someone "I was there."
The air was electric, expectations running high. Ty Stone and the Truth drew them to their seats, country singer Jamey Johnson stoked the fire, and then, as the lights went down again, the sound of Journey echoed through the arena.
And it didn't take long for the night's crowd to see where "Don't Stop Believin'" was going, joining in the chorus long before it talked about "just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit."
But Kid Rock wasn't finished toying with his crowd, the video "History of Rock" - Kid Rock, that is - setting the Wild West stage for a career retrospective. Flames shot high in the air as he strut down the runway, announcing the return of the American bad…, well, you know the rest.
The bawdy kid was back, too, with pole dancers, crotch-grabs and a liberal unleashing of the F-word. Then he would lead a chorus of "Amen," and work a little Ted Nugent into the set, wearing his musical influences like the bumper stickers that covered the piano rising out of the stage floor.
It worked because he didn't need the bells and whistles to put on a good show - they were simply the icing on the cake. There was no need to ask "What's my name," but he did anyway.
Kid Rock has a whiskey-soaked voice that only grows richer with age, and he has enough material to turn out a crowd favorite at every turn and forgetting enough to keep them hungry for more.
From the southern rock stylings of "All Summer Long" to the cocky "Cowboy," he had the house rocking, and he delivered it with heart.
The Twisted Brown Tucker Band has grown into a tight ensemble, as well, saxman David McMurray complementing the traditional rock mix. And Kid Rock knows his way around the instrument bin, too, ably performing on the drums, piano and guitar.
Watching his face as Shannon Curfman joined him in the duet "Picture" was worth the price of admission alone, his smile capturing his full immersion in the music. The look came again later, when the crowd again and again sang his words back to him.
And did we mention how he was "chillin'" in the old lawn chair, you know the kind, with the pastel plastic strips woven around an aluminum frame?
Toss in the lasers, the American flag, spinning sparklers, fireworks and a rock and roll revival that nicely segues into "Rock and Roll Jesus" and you have a night fans will remember for a long time.
Just ask the Stasinskis.
Photo Credit: Brenden Neville
SOURCE: Sue White / The Saginaw News