Orlando Sentinel's Review Of Lynyrd Skynyrd & Kid Rock Live At The Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa, FL 6/27/09:
Kid Rock could be the biggest star in country music.
He could be a rapper. Or a rock n roller.
Or, as the guy proved in a flashy, free-wheeling 100-minute set on Saturday at the Ford Amphitheatre, he could just do it all. One of the songs on his latest album, "Lowlife," also would describe Bob Ritchies musical approach. The guy shamelessly borrows from everyone, which doesnt make his music revolutionary. It just makes it fun.
On Saturday, Kid Rocks hybrid of rock, rap and twang was bolstered by plenty of special effects. The opening "Rock N Roll Jesus" opened with the singer as a giant silhouette behind a mammoth white curtain. When it was removed, the chunky, chugging rhythms were accented by pyro, fireworks and enough spots and strobes to illuminate a small airfield.
Oh, and dont forget the giant American flag in the background. A lot of acts would use such diversions to compensate for minimal musicianship, but Rock and his 9-piece band were tight and proud of it.
"Theres no tape recorders on stage," Rock bragged at one point, tapping on his mic with his hand. "This microphone is actually on."
The mans mission statement was presented early on. "Son of Detroit" was a laundry list of his influences, from ZZ Top to Run-D.M.C. and Merle Haggard. Lots of old rock and R&B chestnuts were scattered throughout the show.
He tucked a blast of the Georgia Satellites "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" into "Lowlife," delivered a dead-on "Tumblin Dice" and a bit of Sly & the Family Stones "Everyday People." The Dukes of Hazzard theme found its way into "Cowboy."
Of course, "All Summer Long" was the mother of all classic-rock combos, mashing together a whiff of "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama" together into a shameless dose of nostalgia.
That "Sweet Home Alabama" guitar riff has plenty of exposure with Lynyrd Skynyrd in the opening slot. The bands 75 minutes was a revelation that exceeded expectations. With only three key members with deep connections to the bands roots, the current incarnation of Skynyrd could be dismissed by cynics as perilously close to a tribute band.
Not so. Singer Johnny Van Zant and guitarists Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke still deliver with passion and energy. The band showcased a song from the upcoming God n Guns album, but the focus was wisely on old favorites: "Gimme Three Steps," Whats Your Name?" "That Smell," "Sweet Home Alabama" and, of course, "Free Bird."
The latter became a memorial, with names and images of dead and departed band members on the video screen. Its a big list, made longer by the recent deaths of keyboardist Billy Powell and bassist Ean Evans.
If these guys are tired of playing the oldies, they dont show it. Like Kid Rock, they looked like they were having fun.
SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel