Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Kid Rock, the scraggly, bad-facial-hair-having owner of a smattering of No. 1 hits we’d all rather forget about, managed to sell out the Gexa Energy Pavilion last night thanks to an unabashed love of marketing to a fanbase of pseudo suburbanites who gleefully embrace all aspects of low-brow culture.
Wait, let me write that in a way Kid Rock fans will understand: “Bro, let’s drink some fucking Coors and go see Kid Rock. There’ll be bitches in fringe everywhere.”
I should point out the statement above is quoted almost verbatim from a pair of bros I passed in the Gexa parking lot before saying, “Fuck this walk” and jumping in one of the many buggies ferrying concert goers from the deepest regions of Fair Park to the front gate of the arena. I should mention that in the buggy was a 50-something lady double-fisting said Coors with her relative named “Junior” and various young ladies adorned in fringe.
Outside the Gexa Energy Pavilion, a drunk man wearing a Slipknot T-shirt, a Confederate flag bandanna and holding a giant Confederate flag bearing an M-16 and the words “Come and Take It” underneath, had managed to run afoul of the Dallas Police and promptly be handcuffed. That and the buggy ride sort of set the tone for what was inside the gates. What was inside? 20,000 poorly tattooed individuals waiting in line to buy Kid Rock merch with slogans like “0 Fucks” and “Fuck Off and Die” on them. All of this hoopla for the seventh-billed star of the first Joe Dirt movie.
To just slag off on Kid Rock’s fans would be unfair to the consummate showman he is. Dealing with a voice that was barely there, Rock made it a point to pander to the crowd as much as possible with his glib anecdotes about how bad he sounded, but how thankful he was to his fans for bearing through it with him.
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As a reward for his fans' loyalty he did his best to jump around his genre-bending career, giving the crowd tastes of his hip-hop days, his time as a hard rocker, his love of Southern rock and his last decade or so's flirtation with country music. And he’s good at it.
Yes, he apes others' hooks and others' lyrics and might not have an original bone in his body, but he loves the music he’s making. You can see all of his heroes in what he does. There are the Southern rockers in his anthems, Detroit rockers like Bob Seger in his guitar work, and the Rolling Stones front and center in his interactions with his backup singers, his arrangements and his lip logo. And there’s the country in … well, when he’s blatantly name dropping Johnny Cash and Hank Williams in his lyrics.
During the requisite medley of songs that people vaguely remember, Kid Rock talked about how weird it is to grow older, and how he’s now a 44-year-old grandfather. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he wasn't the only person in the building who had that honor.
Oh, and holy shit does Kid Rock ever hate the Internet. Dude went on a tirade about people who write on the Internet, and how everyone who uses the Internet is a “pussy” and how they can all get fucked, and how if Jesus showed up the Internet would try to take Jesus down. This makes me think of a few things: 1) Dude, Kid, it’s 2015, don’t use “pussy” in that manner. Pussy is a wonderful thing, and should be shown respect. Pussy literally runs the Internet, and the world, because cats are awesome, and we all like to see things about cats. 2) Kid Rock hates the Internet so much he’s single-handedly keeping the adult magazine market alive, because he refuses to look at Pornhub. And 3) He does have a point; at least two or three people would make a joke about Jesus on Twitter if he randomly showed back up.
Let’s see, what else? Kid Rock bad mouthed Justin Bieber, because fuck that guy, he’s not real like Kid is. He disliked skinny jeans and phonies and how bad his voice sounded last night. Oh, and the Internet again. Dude really hates the Internet.
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The crowd agreed with all of this. They also loved it when a giant Texas flag appeared, and I was just thankful it wasn’t the stars and bars of the Confederacy. The metric ton of people sporting that flag around me had me on edge, and Kid’s recent comments about how he loves the symbol had me worried things would take a dark turn at some point. Thankfully, that never happened.
The most endearing part of the evening was the rather adorable same-sex couple sitting two rows in front of me, giving fuck all what anyone thought and having the time of their lives. They kissed, they smiled, they danced, they grinded without a care, despite Kid Rock fans probably not being the most pro-equality crowd. In fact, no one in the crowd seemed to notice, because they were busy doing the same things.
Maybe, just maybe, we’ve painted this crowd with the wrong brush. Blame it on the Internet.