BY JEFFREY LUTZ
The Wichita Eagle
Kid Rock wears many hats, and not just of the fedora and cowboy varieties he displays in public and during his concerts.
Kid has songs describing himself as a cowboy, lowlife, American bad guy and cocky. The last one may be deserved since he's a world-famous musician who was once married to blonde beauty Pamela Anderson.
Kid brought his cockiness - and the rest of his self-described personas - to the Kansas Coliseum on Friday night, playing a three-hour show and displaying his knack for performing songs in the hip hop, country and rock 'n' roll genres.
Kid, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, was joined for the show by J. Geils Band lead singer Peter Wolf, who would place high in a Mick Jagger sound-alike contest, and iconic rapper Rev Run, member of the group Run DMC.
The show was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. but Kid took the stage 28 minutes later wearing a white suit with a black shirt, white tie, black fedora and his trademark sunglasses.
The 36-year-old opened the latest stop on his Rock N Roll Revival tour with "Rock N Roll Jesus," the title track to the album he released last October. After "Welcome To The Party," Kid introduced Wolf, who sang "Love Stinks," a J. Geils hit from 1980.
What Kid's show lacked in production value was made up for in his ability to keep the crowd on its feet. The stage was not adorned with a video screen and the lighting scheme was simple, but that didn't seem to bother the 6,000 or so in attendance, who sang along word-for-word to many of Kid's songs.
Even the casual music fan could have found a recognizable song during Kid's set. He played all of his biggest hits, including "Cowboy," "American Bad Ass" and "Bawitdaba," which closed the show.
Despite all the songs portraying his cushy life and self-confidence, Kid showed his soft side, breaking out a couple of slow songs around the 30-minute point of the show. He encouraged fans to raise their cell phones during "Amen," a song that calls for people to push on in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Kid's slowdown didn't last long, however. He closed the first set rocking it out with Wolf, as the two traded vocals on "Centerfold," The J. Geils Band's only No. 1 hit.
The guests kept coming after intermission, with Rev Run joining Kid and allowing him to tap into his Detroit hip-hop roots. After opening the second set with "Devil Without A Cause," Kid and Run teamed up to perform some of Run DMC's biggest hits, such as "Tricky" and "You Be Illin'.
They also performed a duet on "Walk This Way," a song made famous by Run DMC's cover of it with Aerosmith. Kid played the role of Steven Tyler and was able to get his voice to nicely reach the squeals for which the Aerosmith lead singer is known.
Kid, who opened the second set wearing a black jumpsuit lined with glittery gold trim, didn't interact much with the crowd, but he kept it alive by referencing Wichita and Kansas during several ad-libbed lyrics.
One moment of note came during "Picture," Kid's 2001 duet with Sheryl Crow. Since Crow performed in Wichita on Wednesday, some undoubtedly were wondering if she would show up to sing her part of the song. Alas, it was not to be, as Crow's portion was handled by one of Kid's backup singers.
After a stint showing off his skills on the turntables, Kid returned to the mic to send the crowd out on a high note. After bringing Wolf and Run back to perform a cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," Kid amped up for the finale, making sure fans left having heard all of his major hits.
Rock's second show in Wichita was loud, unpredictable and provided a forum for him to gloat unabashedly about his personal virtues. But we expect that from rock stars, so his arrogance only helped the show.