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Review: Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow at VWMC


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Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow
Aug. 20, Verizon Wireless Music Center
3.5 stars

A glassy-eyed youth drinking straight from a whiskey bottle.

An even younger looking female chugging a beer just before a security pat-down, vomiting into a nearby trash can, then finishing her drink.

Yep, Kid Rock was back in town.

The self-proclaimed American Bad Ass brought his redneck carnival to the Verizon Wireless Music Center Saturday. Trash receptacles were overflowing with booze containers before the show even began. Apparently Kid Rock knows his audience well, because the venue twice aired a pre-recorded public service announcement in which the singer urges attendees to drink responsibly.

Everyone did, for the most part, and Rock gave his customary high-energy performance. His stage was decked out in a full bar replete with ads for Jim Beam and Red Stag, his own branded whiskey made by the distillery. There were also lots of pyro and two pole dancers.

Despite his cultivated reputation as a bacchanalian womanizer, Kid Rock remains one of the most enigmatic performers in present pop music. His successful marriage of hip-hop and Southern rock is a major achievement unto itself. Granted, the crowd was almost universally white, but they still embraced both forms with equal fervor. As Rock himself sang/rapped in one song, "I rock it with the white, black, young and old."

And so long as you love Kid Rock — and everything about him — that’s great. Cos you’re going to get a lot of Kid Rock at a Kid Rock show. Aside from an opening montage that practically recounts his entire life up to now, there’s also birthday wishes sent from Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel. Certainly braggadocio is part of Rock’s schtick, but by the time in his show he’s scratching records while pouring himself a drink and lighting a cigar, then pulling a Frampton vocoder, playing a Nugent riff and jamming on the drums, a sense of overkill begins to invade.

Rock can also be self-deprecating, particularly as it relates to turning 40 this year. “I might be getting too old for some of that shit,” he said at one point of his more acrobatic moves. He’s also got a hilarious song called “Fuckin’ Forty,” where he laments reaching the age of prostate exams.

Sheryl Crow, his opening act, turns 50 in February. But she’s clearly become a performer who’s comfortable in her own skin.

Looking like a relaxed hippie chick in bell-bottom jeans, she breezed through a set of her biggest pop hits and cuts from her soulful new release, 100 Miles from Memphis. She’s got songs about fast cars and drinking beer (“Real Gone”) and about the man she was meant to marry (“Steve McQueen”).

The guy next to me, upon finding out I was reviewing the show, proclaimed Crow gets an automatic three stars for still being a total hardbody (“it gives the rest of us hope,” he said). She’s docked one and a half stars, however, for trying to marry Lance Armstrong. When she walked over near us on one end of the stage, he summed it up: “Lance fucked up.”


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