In the end, Kid Rock might survive as the last disciple of rock-and-roll showmanship.
Though his music often departs from that genre, his show boasts a clear rock lineage, from the playful swagger of Elvis Presley to the sexual daring of Jim Morrison to the outrageous bombast of Kiss. At its core, rock is about rebellion, and no one does it like Kid Rock.
Monday night at the Civic Center Arena, he had a virtual full house of 8,500 fans on their feet for the entire two-hour show. It’s hard to call it a concert: it was a frenzied, thundering party, complete with lasers, flash pots, walls of flame, one lawn chair, multiple whiskey bottles, a gigantic $100 bill and two stripper poles.
The extra-wide stage (a mock-up of a saloon) accommodated a herd of back-up performers — somewhere around a dozen or so, depending on the tune — that included musicians, singers and dancers. Above it all stretched a massive, obnoxious belt bucket bragging, "American Badness," underwritten with a neon "Born Free."
Ready to party? Kid sauntered out in a western-style, fur-trimmed vest, plus his oft-present fedora, and launched into "American Bad Ass." Later, his outfits would range from shirtless to a blue-neon-laced suit that might be something pimps wear on other planets.
Kid did a solid job of mixing rock, country and rap in the set list as he weaved through his oeuvre, including "Cowboy," "Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp," "All Summer Long," "Only God Knows Why." But he made an enthralling transition after warbling the first verse of the ballad "Picture." Just when the crowd started to wonder who would handle Sheryl Crow’s part, an on-stage video screen flashed Beavis and Butt-Head, with Beavis mocking, "Kid Rock? More like Kid Soft Rock!" With that, Kid slammed into "Bawitdaba," sparking the arena into a frenzy.
Kid also made his requisite nods to his old-school favorites, offering snippets from The Allman Brothers, Bob Seger and ZZ Top. A mid-show highlight included his guitar tease of the opening riff from Ted Nugent’s "Cat Scratch Fever;" it ended abruptly as he set down the guitar and dashed to the drum kit, where he pounded away capably and crooned the tune.
As usual, Kid kept his patter to a minimum, preferring to use his smirks and smiles to let the throng know he doesn’t take himself too seriously. But he made one clear statement on video, as he ruminated about the meaning of success in America; he called out Lebron James for dumping Cleveland to chase glory: "What part of winning don’t you understand? You’ve already won." The crowd exploded in an agreement of applause.
Throughout the night, the Twisted Brown Trucker band excelled, especially during "Somebody’s Gotta Feel This." As Kid spat out carnival barkings regarding his typical mishmash of sex, partying, rapping and whatnot, the band expanded and swelled the song far beyond its usual bounds, prompting mass headbanging.
Earlier, Jamey Johnson offered 45 minutes of traditional country that sounds remarkably fresh. The beefy, long-hard plucker boasts a rich, riveting voice that sometimes borders on harrowing.
SOURCE: Phil Luciano / Journal Star