Nearly halfway through his show at a sold-out Sprint Center on Friday, Kid Rock gave the 15,000-plus fans in the arena a sermon on hometown loyalty.
Before emerging in a light-studded floor-length coat for a version of “Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp,” he preached to the crowd via video and he used LeBron James and his abandonment of Cleveland to make his point:
“The only thing he cares about is winning? What part of winning don’t you understand? You’ve already won. You don’t need a ring …”
Though he has made more than enough money to live wherever he wants to live in this world, Rock, a native of Romeo, Mich., has made his love for Detroit a big part of his live shows over the past 15 years. In fact, his whole personae relies heavily on that theme and others like it: loyalty and pride for your roots, respect for your elders.
He conveyed all that throughout his raucous and entertaining two-hour show, musically and otherwise. His setlist visited his own deep discography, which goes back to 1996, and paid tribute to his elders, both in song and on the video screen: Bob Seger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash.
He also poked fun at himself a few times: during the birthday song he wrote for his own 40th birthday and then when his performance of the adult-rock ballad “Picture” was interrupted by a snarky Beavis and Butthead video, which led him to change songs – to the infernal “Bawitdaba.”
Moments like that leavened the gaudier moments, when Rock indulges in his fondness for excesses: in women, booze and material goods.
But he also makes sure to connect to his core constituents – preach and sing to the blue-collar choir, in other words, with all the sincerity of Bruce Springsteen.
So he performed tunes like “God Bless Saturday,” a ballad for the working-class (“We’re underpaid, but we still give thanks and praise”) and “Flyin’ High,” his paen to home-sweet-home, which he sang from a fold-out lawn chair, sipping from a bottle of Jim Beam.
Rock has a song called “Slow My Roll,” in which he confesses to changing his wild ways and settling down. It’s evident in his live shows, too. Friday’s was relatively tame compared to other Kid Rock tours, which featured strippers in cages and salacious banter with the crowd. Friday’s show featured less of that –- “So Hott” was R-rated but dancers remained more or less PG13.
He brought with him the Twisted Brown Trucker band, some of whom have been with him since 1998 or before, including drummer Stefanie Eulinberg, multi-instrumentalist Jimmie Bones and guitarist Jason Krause –- more evidence of his loyalty to friendship and respect for his roots.
As usual, he showed off his skills on guitar, drums and turntables, as if to remind everyone he’s more than a front guy with a cartoon shtick and a slick wardrobe.
All night, the crowd reacted with fervor to his sentiments and antics, from the front row up into the top of the rafters, where fans filled the $29 seats. They sang along, chanted along, waved along, drank along and whatever else you do when you're made to feel like you're right at home.
Photo Credit: Allison Long / The Kansas City Star
Source: Timothy Finn / The Kansas City Star