Kidd Kraddick Memorial August 15, 2013 AT&T Plaza in Victory Plaza
Last night's open-to-the-public memorial for Kidd Kraddick was a very moving and surprisingly upbeat affair. Feeling like a live episode of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, there wasn't any sugarcoating about Kidd's death, but there were plenty of laughs and good feelings all around.
Fellow KISS-FM DJ Billy the Kidd emceed the hour-long event from a stage built in front of the American Airlines Center. Shaded by the opposing metal and glass buildings, there was a steady stream of guests who came up and shared. First was American Idol alum (and Fort Worth native), Tim Halperin. Thanking Kraddick for the support over the years and even writing songs with him, Halperin covered Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and then played his own tune, "The Last Song (I'll Write for You)."
Kraddick's daughter Caroline came out and covered Coldplay's "Yellow" with Halperin on piano. Believing that the song's lyrics "emulate my dad," Caroline sang with conviction and sincerity, and it didn't feel like an audition for a singing competition.
Mark Cuban shared short reminisces about Kraddick back when Cuban owned Broadcast.com and when he purchased the Mavericks. Recalling the times they'd high-five when Kraddick sat at half court, Cuban closed with a request for parents to hug your kids.
The remaining members of the morning show shared some of their favorite clips from the show on the big screen TVs. Lightening things up with stories that felt like a PG-rated roast, the stories were in good taste. After showing the "Kellie's Wrong" dance and various other hi-jinks, José "J-Si" Chavez announced that the show will continue. Calling Kraddick "the best teacher in the world," Chavez found no reason to stop.
Kraddick's charity foundation, Kidd's Kids, had a video retrospective featuring the Jonas Brothers. That was followed by a brief surprise appearance by the Brothers themselves and high-pitched screams. A steady stream of videotaped tributes followed from members of Blue October, Good Charlotte, Hanson, and Forever the Sickest Kids, along with Dr. Phil McGraw.
Ben Folds stole the show by coming out without a word and stunned with "Still Fighting It." The tune, originally written for Folds' son about growing pains, took on a whole different meaning when played in tribute. Folds said he was thankful for Kraddick giving him time on his show, even though Folds does not see himself as a "Top 40 artist." Folds said it was a "no-brainer" when Kraddick's family asked to perform and he played one of his finest songs, "The Luckiest." Caroline stood on the side of the stage and sang along, and let the tears flow.
The crowd had plenty of tears in their eyes and hugs were given throughout. Ending with Caroline delivering a wondrous version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the hour felt like it flashed by.
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Coming away from the plaza, there was an obvious silence throughout. "I made it through whole thing," a young woman sighed. Many families and friends decamped, but many remained in the plaza to watch the Kidd's Kids concert at the House of Blues streamed live on the large TVs.
Billy the Kidd commented with us about emceeing the event: "This [was] a party and a celebration, but at the same time, I'm connected to it personally, so it was a little bit hard at times. But it was not a big deal when they asked me to do it."
Now that the event was over, there's the question of carrying on without Kraddick. "This week, for whatever reason, the reality set in," he says. "It's going to get back to normal, but Kidd will always be a part of what we do and we will continue to miss him."