It’s that time of year kids for past yearly reflections as we head into another year, 2013. Or if you’re like me and few thousand other people you’ve got another idea in mind; party time at the Hard Rock Live New Year’s Eve weekend with Kid Rock. Talk about ringing in the year with a sonic boom bass drum and a cymbal crash. I was a patron last year on New Year’s Eve at the Hard Rock and Casino. An amazing scene it was. Wall to wall people with noise makers, sequined top hats, glow sticks and drinks galore; and that was just the passers by on the sidewalk. The place was insane. This year add Southern musician and superstar Kid Rock to the mix and you’ve got Times Square ball drop beaten by a mile.
I’ve never seen Kid Rock live before in concert so this was also a first time treat for me. I’m familiar with his hits “All Summer Long,” “Devil Without A Cause,” “Cowboy,” and of course “Bawitdaba.” Yes, I was around when he was known more for his rapping than singing. Funny how things turn out isn’t it?
Tonight’s crowd arrived amped up, wild eyed and ready to ring in the New Year a night early. Actually I don’t think the date on the calendar mattered one way or another. The usual floor seating was absent as it was transformed into general admission, standing room only. From the onset the sell out crowd was ready for a raucous down home rock show. His opening consisted of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” blaring through the arena’s speakers. As the famous line from the song rang out, “Just a city boy / Born and raised in South Detroit,” the audience took over the ‘Detroit’ line as Rock hit the stage dressed in a black leather jacket, blue jeans, and brown leather vest. His infamous long blonde hair, fedora, and sunglasses were present as he commanded the stage riling up the crowd at will.
Rock’s hits rolled from one to another at a pace that didn’t leave the audience time to breathe. The proverbial American Bad Ass did an amazing version of “Celebrate,” and a high octane “Cowboy,” which included Rock playing guitar. He invited us to a “Redneck Paradise,” with a wink of his eye that was a good time for all 5500 in attendance. Other crowd favorites included “Wasting Time,” “Lay It On Me,” “You Never Met A Mother****** Quite Like Me,” “So Hott,” and “Lowlife.” “Lowlife,” kicked into a verse of the Georgia Satellite’s hit “Keep Your Hands To Yourself,” which added a great surprise to the tune. Songs from his new release “Rebel Soul,” weaved in and out seamlessly through his set list. “Let’s Ride,” gave the most poignant moment of the evening. KR asked the audience to “salute the U.S. Military by putting your cell phones up in the air,” which gave the lyrics and melody an edge that won’t soon be forgotten.
Adding a bit of flash and multi-musicianship KR placed himself behind the phonograph table and took over as a D.J. Taking a moment for scratching he took a shot of whiskey and smoked a cigar. Bounding back to center stage he strapped on his Stratocaster and ripped into “Cat Scratch Fever.” Putting down his ax he finished up the song behind the drum kit and returned to the microphone stand. Announcing “I feel a revival coming on,” confetti shot over the heads of the audience as he sung inspiring versions of “Rock N Roll Jesus,” and “Only God Knows Why.”
“Born Free,” added patriotism to the evening as Rock dropped a huge American Flag behind the band, finishing the song standing atop a white grand piano. “Bawitdaba,” did exactly what Rock promised it would do, raising the roof off the Hard Rock Live. Wishing the crowd a Happy New Year 2013 in true Kid fashion (which I can’t repeat here) he returned for an encore with the entire band dressed in gold lame jackets. As they ended their final song aptly titled “Happy New Year,” black, gold, and white balloons as well as another round of confetti fell from the high Hard Rock ceiling and covered the entire audience.
After Kid’s two hour marathon I think the ones who were exhausted were us, the audience. I’m sure he could have gone on a couple more hours. Kid Rock put on one hell of a spectacle. I give the man props and mad respect. Thanks Kid for setting off 2013 with a rock’n’roll heart and a bit of southern soul.