Kid Friggin’ Rock
It seems like the entire weekend was building up to this moment. Kid Rock is the undisputed king of BamaJam. He may not be a native son of Alabama but his Detroit heart-and-soul music just seems bred for Southern Rock. He certainly dressed the part, decked out in a custom Crimson Tide football jersey emblazoned on the back with the name ‘Bob,’ aviator sunglasses and white fedora. He was the definition of country cool and the crowd quickly forgot about their lawn chairs to get up and shake what their mamma gave them.
The Pepsi stage was shrouded in a massive sheet protecting the setup from any prying eyes. Kid came out behind the curtain like some redneck Wizard of Oz with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” blaring before he quickly switched gears to pump up the audience with the thumping “Welcome 2 the Party.” The sheet unraveled, and there he was kicking the song in the teeth. The first thing you notice is Kid Rock doesn’t like to sit in one place for too long. He bound out onto the catwalk and hung over the teeming crowd. He’d dart back to the fold to rock out with the Twisted Brown Trucker Band, but it was never long before he was heading out to please the ladies in their feverous frenzy.
I don’t know what it is about Kid Rock’s mystique, but he seems to turn every good country girl into a stripper. Scantly clad ladies were grinding against their men like they were getting paid for it. Needless to say the guys didn’t seem to mind this strange effect Kid had on their women.
The set list was a scatter shot, sampling songs equally across his album catalog. Cocky fans got a trio of songs, and Devil Without a Cause devotees got four choice tracks. Strangely enough, the only album that really got neglected was his latest, Born Free. After hearing the mellower Kid Rock, I wondered if his rock hard persona would be taking a back seat as I imagined him coming out in a cardigan to sit wistfully on a stool for the entire evening. No worries. Kid Rock is still Kid Rock, even if Born Free felt a little too adult contemporary for its own good.
He pulled out all the stops. He played guitar on “Cowboy” and “What I Learned Out on the Road.” He was mixing the turntables while toking a pot pipe (I’m sure it was medicinal) in a crazy top hat at the end of the evening. Every side of Kid Rock took the stage front and center, as he wasn’t even afraid to proclaim he was “F$%ckin’ 40.”
The most disappointing part of the set was the lack of a duet with Sheryl Crow for either “Picture” or “Collide,” which was ultimately left off the set list. Sheryl was just on stage minutes before he started his set, so there shouldn’t have been a timing issue. I assumed that the festival promoters arranged the bill so they could showcase these stars together, as they did Zac Brown and Alan Jackson Friday night. This was a definite head scratcher because it just made too much sense. He was probably long gone, but having up-and-comer Yelawolf on stage to reprise their collaboration would have given the young rapper some much needed credibility with the country crowd he struggled so hard to find earlier in the day.
Kid Rock lived up to his namesake by rocking the crap out of BamaJam and showing this country audience that rock will never play second fiddle. His expansive band sounded great and the light show spectacular was probably the best of the weekend. Kid Rock may not be a born and bred Alabama boy, but tonight he was the state’s favorite son. He doused the festival with a Detroit Southern Rock that was sorely needed. I can’t think of a better way to close out a great festival weekend.
Kid Rock BamaJam Setlist
1) Welcome 2 the Party
2) Feels Good to Me
4) All Summer Long
5) What I Learned Out on the Road
7) New Orleans
8) God Bless Saturday
9) I’m Fucking 40
10) Wasting Time
Mark Runyon | ConcertTour.org