Kid Rock

Kid Rock

The Buzz Bake Sale, Coral Sky Amphitheatre, Pompano Beach, FL • November 7, 1999

I only had the chance to see one live band at the 1999 Buzz Bake Sale. That would be the headliner, Kid Rock. I tried to watch and listen without prejudice. Never mind the fact that last year, as an unknown artist, he sat at the Ink 19 booth while I ran around in the hot sun trying to lure kids to come over and get his autograph so he wouldn’t feel like nobody cared. Never mind the fact that he drank my last Guinness in a can while this was going on. Never mind that this year, he blew us off because he is now Mr. multi-platinum recording artist. I do remember that while he sat there last year with his arms crossed while Steve Perry (singer of Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, not the guy from Journey!) sat next to him and signed tons of autographs, Kid said to us, “you watch, when my record comes out, I’m gonna be big, I’m gonna shake some shit up.” And he has. That record, released shortly after that, has now sold a few million copies. It has produced 3 major hit radio singles. He has performed live on national television with Run-DMC and Aerosmith. The Kid has come along way.

I figured that his live show would be nothing short of a spectacle and I was right. As the theme to the S.W.A.T. TV show blasts through the P.A., the Detroit rocker, decked in full pimp-gear, is raised on to a huge platform. The Pimp of the Nation, as his DJ calls him, is met there by several exotic dancers, if you will. The energy level soars as he busts into “Bawitdaba.” Quite an opener, though I thought he would save that for last. It’s OK; he’s still got two more smashes to go. As the show goes on, it’s obvious that this Kid, unlike many of today’s alt-rock radio champs, was not raised on Lollapalooza. There’s much more of an 80’s thing going on — perhaps a nice blend of Southern rock, heavy metal, and early 80’s rap. He doesn’t mean to brag, but he likes to boast when he says, “Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams, Jr., Run-DMC, and Aerosmith told me I’m good.” At one point, it almost looked like a Black Sabbath concert, when he screamed “hey Florida, show me some fuckin’ metal, y’all!”

The secret ingredients to Detroit Rock N’ Roll Stew are revealed later in the set. That would include 1/2 a teaspoon of percussion, 1 pound of bass, add 4 cups of metal guitar, and top it off with some lead guitar. Sound like a standard metal show? Just when he’s got everyone in metal mode, he gets the crowd going with a “we like the party, rock the party” chorus and encourages the crowd to throw their hands in the air and wave them like they just don’t care. The show is now winning me over, and I’m forgiving him for drinking my Guinness. After covers of CCR’s “Fortunate Son” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band,” the band finally gives the crowd one of the songs they came to hear, his current smash, “Cowboy.” The strippers return, only this time, the silicone is fully exposed, much to the delight of the male (and some female) fans.

Like any Kid Rock concert, the show is not over until the artist formerly known as Bob Ritchie takes his turn at playing every instrument (quite well, I might add). The highlight of that little event is when he takes control of the DJ booth, using fingers, palms, forearms and elbows to scratch records.

By the end of the night, I was reminded of when shows were rock concerts and artists were rock stars. Though I still can’t admit to being a big fan of the music, I must say that it was quite refreshing compared to most of the cookie-cutter dreck that’s being force-fed by MTV lately. If this Kid is trying to be something that he’s not, he’s doing a damn good job of it. He still owes me a pint of Guinness, though.

*Some of the artists performing at the Buzz Bake Sale who did make it to the Ink 19 booth include Marvelous 3, Kottonmouth Kings, Bolt Upright, Joydrop, and Showoff.

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