(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI - August 9th, 2013)
Robert James Ritchie, better known by his stage name Kid Rock, is an American musician and actor. He is most popularly known for his first commercial success, the 1998 studio album Devil Without a Cause, which sold 13 million albums worldwide.
But over the years his albums have sold more and more, his fan base has expanded beyond belief, and his love for his home town of Romeo/Detroit, MI has never, ever faded.
Indeed, he was Soundscan's number one selling male solo musician of the 2000s, selling 17.6 million albums; he was 17th overall for the decade!
And with $20.00 ticket prices bringing in sold-out crowds for all 8 of his shows, Kid Rock had already shown his fans that this was quite easily going to be the "$20 Best Night Ever" tour!
And so on this record-breaking night of hometown shows, and with Detroit area rockers Citizen Zero, and the legendary Texas trio ZZ Top both having done their collective opening act stints, it was 9.00pm - and time for Rock to rock the house!
As a Kid Rock "$20 Dollar Bill' curtain is brought down, the lights go down, a "journey through life" (voiced by Rock) video plays on the screens, Journey’s 'Don’t Stop Believin’ intro is heard, and suddenly there is Rock. Silhouetted right in the middle of the bill where Andrew Jackson's should be, slowly rapping a musical Prayer to God. And then with a burst of light, the dropping of the curtain, there he is in full, and very colorful glory!
After a very loud pyro, he blasts himself into 'Devil Without A Cause,' before clipping both 'Celebrate' and 'Never Met A Motherf**ker Quite Like Me.' Next up he's powering though 'American Bad Ass' (complete with a tribute to the late George Jones) and an acoustic version of 'Wasting Time,' before finally taking a moment to breathe - and speak to his sold-out audience. He explains all about how they created the song 'Redneck Paradise' with the late Hank Williams Jr., before launching into what was easily one of the song highlights of the night.
For 'Cowboy' Rock sits down at his piano for a third of the song, before it kicks up into the musical frenzy that it is known for. And together with his wonderful back-up singers, he swiftly moves on into yet another song highlight of the night, 'What I Learned On The Road.' A fan favorite, obviously chock full of Rock experiences, it brings him and the crowd together in one big musical group hug. Now with his sweat-ridden long hair brushed back, his black hat now in place, he tells us we're now going a long way back. A faux 'Tom Sawyer' vocal intro is song and is accompanied by a green laser light show as he then brings us 'Forever.'
Next up is the powerhaus 'Cocky,' which sees more Rock trademark one-hand-on-hat, both-feet-off-the-ground chorus jumps! "We are feeling very lucky that you guys still want to see us here at Pine Knob," he finally speaks again to the crowd. "I am honored that you still come to see us perform night after night, especially here tonight, on this first night of a world record tour. Thank you, Detroit." And with that he glides gently into 'Son Of Detroit.'
Taking it down even further he sits stage front on a stool and after a delicate sax opening solo begins to sing 'Picture.' He is then joined by one of his female backing singers, Shannon Curfman who takes the role of Sheryl Crow. A lovely song sung perfectly by both them and the crowd is then followed by '3 Sheets to the Wind,' before Rock asks the crowd, "Do you know what time it is? It's show-off time." He then gets the girls to scream 'Kid,' the guys to sing 'Rock' as he sets sail into 'Rock N' Roll Jesus.' But then something weird happens! He actually doesn't utilize them like he usually does, because just two minutes into the song he breaks to show of his DJ skills on the turntables.
Drinking bourbon, smoking a cigar (both huge no-no's for a live stage performance, especially at THIS venue!), he spends 10 minutes doing that, before coming back stage center for 'Only God Knows Why.' Combining that with some 'Take Me To The River' bursts, he then brings the 90 minute set to a close with a speech. Thanking everyone for having come out to see them, and even naming all the sponsors, he then tells the crowd why he set out to make this a $20.00 seat ticket tour. Explaining that the more you give people the more you get back, the fact that he'd sold out 8 shows in a row at Pine Knob showed that he was proved right. He thanked everyone, again for spending their hard earned money in coming to see them and then; with his Rock the Michigan mascot proudly standing in front of the state flag, he brought us 'Born Free' before the set was complete.
Coming back out five minutes later to take a seat in an old wooden chair put center stage (and fashioned to look like the Mitten State), Rock (now in his change-of-tshirt with Bad Ass motto emblazoned) and the Brown Trucker Band bring us the mid-tempo Flyin' High,' before the wonderful sing-along of 'All Summer Long.' And as the camera zooms in on Rock slowly putting his fingers to each side of his head and popping up the Devil Horns, he closes the near two-hour show with a rip-roaring; and smothered in a rich, deep red light complete with thunderous pyrotechnics 'Bawitdaba.'
Review & Photos by: Russell A. Trunk