He's everything he claims to be and more
Review: Kid Rock in Victoria
Mike Devlin, Victoria Times Colonist
Published: Sunday, July 06, 2008
REVIEW: Kid Rock
Where: Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre
Kid Rock performs Saturday night in Victoria at Save On Foods Memorial Centre.
Debra Brash, Times Colonist
Rating: 4.5 (out of five)
In the very early 1990s, when Vanilla Ice - not Eminem - was the reference point for white rappers, fooling folks was an integral part of the job description.
Vanilla Ice sure as shoot did it, as did 3rd Bass and Everlast. The worst offenders were probably New Yorkers the Young Black Teenagers - they weren't teenagers or black.
Kid Rock, who is, coincidentally, the son of a former used car salesman, tried his best back then to follow suit. He masked his above-average upbringing in Romeo, Mich., and moved out of his parents' house to live with friends in the nearby housing projects of Mount Clemens.
Though he eventually earned respect from black audiences for his DJing abilities - it was this crowd who gave him the name Kid Rock, for fans often said, "That kid can rock" - for the first six years of his career, this skinny white kid was successful at one thing: Being successful at very little.
That's no longer the case. Twenty years after he began, Rock has become a viable, Grammy-nominated multi-millionaire who plays a great many instruments, and touches upon an equal number of musical styles, almost all of them well.
The one problem with this do-everything personality? Nobody knows what to make of him.
Is he a country-rocker? A hip-hop head? A white-trash thrasher? And when addressing him, this man of many aliases, do we call him the American Bad Ass, the Early Morrnin' Stoned Pimp or the Rock N Roll Jesus?
During his performance last night at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre, the first of seven Canadian dates on his Rock N Roll Revival Tour, Rock was everything he claims to be - and more.
The 37 year-old obviously isn't stupid. He knows people think he's a low-rent hick, a low-life living the high life, but apparently he is unfazed by such a quandary.
"I ain't no G, I'm just a regular failure," he rapped on Cowboy, one of the night's highlights, "and I ain't straight out of Compton, I'm straight out the trailer."
Sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll; this two-hour performance had it all. And that accounts for a large part of Rock's appeal. But when you strip away his desire to be all things, underneath is a talented performer.
His rhyme style, once so out-of-tune with rap trends of the early 1990s, produced countless gems last night. But the moments which required him to use his voice as an instrument were best. All Summer Long, his current hit, was a cool summer breeze set to the strains of Sweet Home Alabama and Werewolves of London. Same goes for the resplendent Only God Knows Why, a road-weary power-ballad of high renkown.
Rock was in good spirits, especially for someone who was partying the night before at a Fourth of July party with the crew of friends dubbed the Malibu Mob. John McEnroe, Tony Danza, and John Cusack are all members. NHL star Chris Chelios, of 2008 Stanley Cup champions the Detroit Red Wings, another member, brought the Stanley Cup to the party.
As Canadians, for that alone we should hate Rock. But we found it impossible to do so, given his natural charisma. He didn't hog the stage once. He came across as genuine. And he has the songs to back up his many boasts.
In the past, the focal point of Rock's stage set-up was a giant, inflatable middle finger - aimed, presumably at his many critics and detractors. These days, he has put the spotlight back on himself and his talented 11-piece band, Twisted Brown Trucker.
The highlights were Marlon Young, the group's lead guitarist; Jimmie "Bones" Trombley, TBT's versatile keyboardist; and Stefanie Eulinberg, a drummer who guested on Twice As Hot, Rock's diss of his ex-wife, and Vancouver Island native, Pam Anderson.
Rev. Run, of Hollis, Queens, giants Run-DMC, appeared mid-set for a medley of It's Like That, It's Tricky, and Walk This Way, which added big-time to the party atmosphere. But it was Rock's show, and when he got to So Hott, singing scandalous lyrics, he was impossible to beat.
It came to a head when Rock delivered the set-closing Batwadiba, his mosh pit anthem from 1998. The track united all types of Rock fans - the quitters, the sinners, the drinkers and all the rap-rock fans who were reminded why they loved him in the first place.