The Grand Rapids Press
Thursday, January 31, 2008
By Troy Reimink
GRAND RAPIDS -- Kid Rock's latest album is called "Rock N Roll Jesus." While that's the type of braggadocio we've come to expect from Kid Rock, one wonders if there's not some truth to it.
In other words, is Michigan native Bob Ritchie the man who will save rock and roll?
You never know. His show Friday at Van Andel Arena is sold out, which is no small feat for a rock act these days.
"The guy's got amazing drawing power," said Michael Grey, program director for rock station WKLQ-FM (107.3). "Even if you're just an armchair fan of a couple of songs, he's one of the few people in rock music that absolutely is a must-see in person. He's better on a live stage than in any other form. People don't realize he plays every instrument. It's an impressive show."
Doubly impressive is Kid Rock's career trajectory in recent years. After the phenomenal success of 1998's "Devil Without a Cause," sales dropped considerably. But he experienced a commercial resurgence in 2003 with the success of "Picture," a duet with Sheryl Crow that crossed over to a country audience.
He has played nearly every venue in Grand Rapids, from the long-defunct Reptile House to the old Intersection and to Van Andel Arena, which he nearly filled in 2002. In 2005, he played the DeltaPlex, and has now pulled off the rare feat of not only returning to the biggest venue in town, but selling it out.
Whether "Rock N Roll Jesus" should be called a comeback album is debatable, but there's no doubt the Kid is back on top.
Kid Rock, who grew up in Romeo and now lives outside of Clarkson, has special appeal for Michigan listeners.
"Everybody sees a little bit of Kid Rock in them," WGRD-FM (97.9) program director Jerry Tarrants said. "He's a typical Michigan guy. You know how Bob Seger kind of looks like the common blue-collar dude? I think that's how people in Michigan view him. He looks down-to-earth. I think he's reflective of blue-collar Michigan. That, and he's a great entertainer."
WKLQ and WGRD have been playing "Jesus" singles "So Hott" and "Amen," and WGRD also has spun the album track "All Summer Long."
Before and after parties
WKLQ will host a before-show party at The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW, from 5 to 7 p.m. WGRD will host before- and after-show parties at The Intersection, 133 Grandville Ave. SW. Local band Pop Evil and Detroit's the Hard Lessons will perform.
Kid Rock's DJ and members of his Twisted Brown Trucker Band are scheduled to appear at the Intersection party. A representative from the club said he couldn't confirm whether Kid Rock would show up. Cover is $5.
If you go
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Van Andel Arena, 130 W. Fulton St.
Opening: Reverend Run (of Run DMC) and Peter Wolf
Tickets: Sold out
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