The Detroit Press Press Review The Comerica Park Show in Detroit, MI On 7/17/09
Kid Rock performs during the Kid Rock concert on Friday, July 17, 2009, in Detroit at Comerica Park.
9:52 p.m.: A flash of lights. Towers of flame. A spray of fireworks. And Kid Rock, emerging from the shadows to a massive roar. Lasers dance across the baseball stadium as black-clad Rock and his band charge through "Rock n Roll Jesus."
The night will belong to history: From up in the press box, the floor of Comerica Park is a sprawl of little white lights -- thousands of cell phones being held aloft to chronicle the moment.
With Rock strutting and working the full breadth of the stage, the songs come rat-a-tat-tat: "Son of Detroit," the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice," "American Bad Ass," "Lowlife (Living the High Life)." All is precisely synchronized, motifs from other tunes slipping in and out like a carefully arranged suite.
Even when he was playing small venues, Kid Rock was delivering a stadium-sized show. As he commands a sea of punching fists during "All Summer Long," it feels like he's finally where he was always supposed to be.
Fans cheer during the Kid Rock concert on Friday, July 17, 2009, in Detroit at Comerica Park.
11:07 p.m.: Gifted vocalist Jessica Wagner trades vocals with Rock on a loose but upbeat rendition of the Jackson 5's "ABC," a tribute to the late Michael Jackson. It's one of several cover tunes Rock is sprinkling into his set, an array that sounds like a spin down the classic-rock dial: Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People," Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever," the Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself." Rock's own "Wasting Time" gets placed atop "Paradise City" by Guns N' Roses.
Having locked in with Rock from the get-go, the crowd remains fully engaged even as the band hits a mellow midshow stretch, swaying and singing along to tunes like "Drift Away," "Picture" and a reworked "Cowboy." Two big video screens bring the action to fans in the cheap seats, but these are fans who don't need many cues -- a hometown audience that's well acquainted with the rituals of Rock's live sets.
That's obvious when fans immediately latch onto the call-and-response portion of his traditional "3 Sheets to the Wind" schtick, and Comerica Park fills with 40,000 voices hollering "Ki-iid Rock-Rock" before Rock takes to the turntables for his showoff DJ routine.
11:33 p.m.: Searchlights and lasers sweep the park as the opening notes of "Bawitdaba" rumble to life. The supersized rock song has been Rock's signature live number for a decade, and he pulls out all the visual stops for a production bordering on epic. Another few rounds of pyro, strobes and booms, and Rock closes out his regular set with a hearty "God bless you and good night."
A mercifully brief break precedes the encore, where Rock debuts a poignantly targeted ballad, "Times Like These," a stay-strong ode to battered Detroit that includes the line, "I won't leave because this here's my hometown."
"Tough times make for tough people," Rock tells his 40,000 friends before closing it all out with a red-white-and-blue version of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA." Night one is in the bag.
Just more than two hours after Kid Rock hit the stage, the stadium lights ease back on and fans chatter loudly as they stream out to the streets. Some will head to the after-party with DJ Paradime at Motor City Casino; some will be back here tomorrow. And somewhere backstage, you figure, Kid Rock is feeling pretty good right now about the spectacle he just waged for his hometown. After this taste of stadium grandiosity, you wonder if he'll ever be able to cram his show back into a local arena.
Detroit may have just landed a new tradition.
SOURCE: The Detroit Free Press