While listening to Kid Rock CDs in the weeks leading up to this past Monday’s concert at Covelli Centre, one thought emerged:
Kid Rock is not only a Bob Seger devotee, but he is slowly morphing into Seger.
His career has been one of drastic evolution. His early rap-rock phase is where he made his bones, but he seems quite comfortable in the redneck/country style of the last few albums. It’s not such a stretch, because straight- shooting country music is really just the flipside of urban rap.
But it’s just another stage in Kid’s path toward his ultimate destination: king of Motor City muscle rock.
He’s the heir-apparent to Seger’s throne. Kid’s midrange voice and hoarse howling is similar to Seger’s, and his songwriting is also on the same page, occasionally even derivative. Same can be said for the way he seems to embody the spirit of freedom, the road, and other lone wolf values.
And of course, both were proudly made in Detroit.
So it came as no surprise when Kid broke from his standard set list at his Covelli show to do an homage to his idol. He pulled up a stool and played solo acoustic-style a song he wrote called “The Best Night Ever.”
It’s about an evening he spent hanging out with Seger, making music.
He followed it up with a cover of Seger’s “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” singing with a voice that could be heard over an assembly-line din.
As for the rest of the show — the hype had it that Kid Rock was a phenomenal live act who wins over converts at each show.
That much was proven true. A natural showman, Kid had the capacity crowd of close to 6,000 in the palm of his hand the whole night, leading chants and garnering roars.
He strutted and danced his way up and down a catwalk that jutted into the floor seats, and also onto perches at either side of the stage. He tossed the microphone from hand to hand like a hot potato throughout the nearly two-hour concert.
It was easy to see why the Michigan rocker draws people to him: He has down-to-earth sincerity, electric enthusiasm, and a desire to make sure every last fan is pleased.
Backed by a six-man band, plus a DJ and three backup singers, Kid touched on every part of his catalog. Songs included “Cowboy,” with Kid on organ for the intro; “American Badass,” “Picture” (one of his backup singers was the other part of the duet), “What I Learned on the Road” and “Rebel Soul.”
At one point, Kid transformed into his alter-ego, Bobby Shazam, and demonstrated his multitasking ability: lighting up a big old cigar and pouring a shot of Jim Beam (a plug for his tour sponsor) while scratching on a turntable.
The Mitt Romney supporter also fit in a wee bit of speechifying on his “everyone has to pull their own weight” political views.
The set closed with his all-American anthem “Born Free,” followed by a lengthy encore that included “Bawitaba” and covers of John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and, oddly enough, John Eddie’s “Happy New Year.” Eddie is a New Jersey rocker out of the Springsteen school, but Kid Motown-ed it up with the band donning glitter jackets while confetti and balloons rained down.
Elephants are coming to town, with doughnuts
The Ringling Brothers- Barnum and Bailey Circus comes to Covelli Centre next week. As usual, there will be an elephant walk and clowns clowning around at public events to drum up interest.
This year, a doughnut- eating contest between Youngstown police and the circus elephants is in the works, although it’s not been determined yet if it will be open to the public.
Shinedown, Three Days Grace concerts coming in May
Shinedown has been touring with Three Days Grace and P.O.D. But when the Florida band’s returns to Youngstown on May 5, the opening act will be Airbourne.
Fans of Three Days Grace can catch the band May 17 at Rodeo Music Hall in Austintown. Go to surfthevalley.com for tickets.
Shinedown tickets are available via ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at the Covelli box office.