The Recording Academy and T-Mobile present Kid Rock and Gretchen Wilson Wednesday, April 23, 2008 Granada Theater
Better Than: Trolling around on facebook all night long, waiting for your friends to finish up their turn in a game of Scrabulous.
Last night was the second time I'd attended a Kid Rock concert, and, yes, that's two more Kid Rock concerts than I ever hoped to attend.
Honestly, I didn't really want to head to the show either time I went. But, alas, there's always a need for new content on a blog...
Still--and here's the kicker---just like the last time I caught his show, the Kid managed to trick me into a surprisingly good time. Sorry, but if you're able to maintain a frown and stand cross-armed as Rock and his band jump around on stage and hundreds--if not thousands--of his fans scream "Hey!" in unison and throw up devil's hands around you, you're more than just another music snob. You're an asshole.
Indeed, at a Kid Rock show, assimilation is the key to one's enjoyment.
Not that it's really that difficult to assimilate; dude's got like a bajillion recognizable hit songs that everyone knows. And he ran through a ton of them, all of which got the eclectic crowd going bonkers (funny, I didn't know all T-Mobile customers were Kid Rock fans). Yes, it was weird to see dolled-up, respectable-looking women singing along to Rock's new-ish song "Lowlife (Living the Highlife)," and even weirder to see more people sneaking puffs of cigarettes than joints. But people were really, really, really, enjoying themselves. Especially the women. They really like Kid Rock. And, no, that I will never understand.
Last night's bill, though, did have something working in Kid Rock's favor: He had platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning sensation Gretchen Wilson opening for him. And though her mic cut out on her twice during her 40-minute performance, she managed to wow even the non-fans in the crowd. She killed it with her opening song, "Here For The Party," and her obvious closer, "Redneck Woman," but the real gem of her set was a cover of Heart's "Barracuda." It was the only real chance she had to show off her range--something you'd never really know she had based on her notable-mostly-because-they're-just-really-catchy hits.
Wilson then showed Sheryl Crow up significantly when she joined Kid Rock on stage to perform the duet "Picture" with him (despite looking visibly intimidated and starstruck beside him). Rock then followed that song with "Cowboy" and ended his near-hour-long set with a performance of his first real hit, "Bawitdaba."
It was all very over the top, but, as I said before, the crowd's enjoyment of the set is what really made the show a sheepishly enjoyable one for me. It was all...well...kinda cute, actually. Just like it had been the last time I'd seen him.
Fool me once into enjoying your work, Kid Rock, and shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
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Tons of it.
Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: None, really. Don't own any Kid Rock or Gretchen Wilson albums. But I did think Gretchen Wilson was pretty awesome when "Redneck Woman" first came out. That song rocked. Still does. And, OK, I'll admit it, I did think it was pretty adorable when Kid Rock bought Rev Run's son Russy a $3,000 guitar on that one episode of Run's House.
Random Note: Kid Rock voiced his disdain for the video screens that flanked either side of the Granada's stage last night, mainly because they kept focusing on him, even during his bandmates' solos. After a bit, he demanded the video feed stop running, and he eventually got his wish. Small ordeal, nothing major, and Kid Rock handled the whole thing pretty professionally, and without coming off as too uppity. That won him a few points in my book.
By The Way: Apparently I was wrong yesterday when I said you had to be a T-Mobile customer to get into the event. Not true. You just had to apply for tickets at T-Mobile stores or on T-Mobile's web site. And, if you had a T-Mobile Sidekick, you got into the roped-off, VIP sections of the theater. Big difference. Or so I was told. --Pete Freedman