March 15, 2002
here for a review of Cocky, the
latest album from Kid Rock
When Kid Rock's tour manager was scheduling his Ohio date for the current
Cocky tour, he could not have picked a more appropriate facility than Dayton's Hara Arena. A tattered and run-down old arena on the outskirts of downtown, tucked right between a car lot and a few fast-food restaurants, Hara looks more like a sleepy truck stop bar from the outside and a crusty old high school gymnasium from the inside. This venue typically hosts Wrestlemania and monster truck pulls, so how very fitting that Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band of trailer park rockers would bring the greatest stage show of this generation to settle in here for the night.
Against the backdrop of a solid steel trailer home, several American flags, pink flamingo lawn ornaments, hubcaps, clothes lines and Coors Light neon signs, Kid Rock and company exploded on stage following a brief sampling from The Wizard of Oz (taken from
Cocky's intro track, "Trucker Anthem"). "Who's in the house," the ominous off-stage voice bellowed throughout the jam packed, smoke-filled arena. First to appear from the haze beneath an elevated drum kit was Kid's DJ, Uncle Kracker. His brief rap introduction eventually gave way to Kid appearing on top of the huge trailer across the back of the stage. "So what? Say how. Say who. Fuck what? Fuck me. Fuck you!" he spewed as crackling pyrotechnics ignited Hara and the capacity crowd of mostly adolescent stoners erupted from their seats. An opening montage of "Trucker Anthem" and "Cocky" spilled right into the recent single "Forever." As the familiar chorus fell, all 4,000 loyal followers knew precisely what they were in for, "I make punk rock…and I mix it with the hip-hop…I'll get ya' higher than a tree top…you wanna roll with Kid Rock!"
If there are two facts that will be beaten into your brain by the end of a Kid Rock show, it's that you WILL know who he is and you WILL know where he's from! He's Kid Rock, the early morning stone pimp, and he hails from Romeo, Michigan…. Got it, Motherfucker!? As Kid stepped up to introduce the fourth song of the night, "Welcome 2 The Party," a flurry of red, white and blue confetti was blasted out into the audience from two large blowers at each side of the stage. Then, as if this rock and roll party could be taken to a higher level, four bikini-clad strippers appeared in two separate cages at the front corners of the stage. A full throttle cover of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and
Roll" was next, as the strippers began shedding layers, and it wouldn't be long before you realize Kid's affection for covering other people's music. A non-stop assault of "Devil Without a Cause" (complete with AC/DC's "Back In Black" riffed throughout), a borrowed sample of Fleetwood Mac's "Second Hand News" to open "Wasting Time," and the new "You Never Met a Motherfucker Quite Like Me" with a brief respite from "Freebird" had the crowd charged beyond words.
Kid paused for a short acoustic set midway through the night, which included the new radio cut "Lonely Road of Faith," a hokey self-told story ballad called "If I Was President," and finally "America the Beautiful." But nearly as quickly as it began, the slower, mellower tunes were halted and the high-octane heavy metal rap was reinstated. With a bevy of pyros, explosions and machine gun lights, the Twisted Brown Trucker Band emerged and slammed headlong into "American Bad Ass" from 2000's
History Of Rock album. The riveting Metallica riff ("Sad But True") worked the crowd to its most feverish level yet and seemed to be the start of the home stretch. Or maybe not! Kid continuously thanked the fans for spending their "hard-earned dollars" to come see him play, and with a set that would run well over two hours, he meant it! He would wind down the first set with "What I Learned Out on the Road," "Only God Knows Why" and the smash "Cowboy," which began with a half-cover of the Allman Brothers' "Midnight Rider" -- "Not gonna let 'em catch me, no…'cause I'm a Cowboy, baby!"
The encore was a near full second set that opened with "Midnight Train to Memphis" and shuffled through a popular medley of various Detroit/Motown-influenced covers, dedicated to the folks who inspired Kid and the band as they grew up in rural Michigan. Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll," Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever," and finally Eminem's "My Name Is," which ideally ushered in the opening of the night's swan song "Bawitdaba." Trailer park wardrobes, strippers and scorching hip-hop guitars have served Kid Rock well to this point, as he controversially performs one of the truly great rock and roll shows in the country. When he took the raucous Dayton crowd of wasted youth through a lively version of "The Dukes of Hazard" theme song, I pondered, does it really get any more all-American than this?