by Edward Pevos | epevos@MLive.com | Sept. 13
DETROIT, MI – Kid Rock showed plenty of Detroit love at the inaugural Little Caesars Arena concert. He also gave fans a few surprises.
Rock performed the first concert at the nearly $1 billion arena on Tuesday, Sept. 12. OK. To be accurate, Rock “headlined” the first concert. Sweet Tea Trio was the first performer followed by Robert Randolph & The Family Band. They opened for the Metro Detroit native.
Doors to the arena were unlocked at 6 p.m. I arrived at 6:30 p.m. and the place was already packed with people taking pictures of every corner of the impressive structure.
Food lines were long at each of the four new restaurants, including Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit dining establishment. Many fans sported Kid Rock shirts, including the inaugural concert souvenir shirt, and nearly everyone was proudly carrying their American flag on a wooden stick they received upon entry.
As the concert began just after 9 p.m., fans flocked to their cushy and roomy red seats for a memorable beginning to what will be a busy arena with plenty of concerts, on top of both Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons home games.
Rock started singing behind a white curtain as fans saw a giant shadow image of him. The curtain fell and the festivities began with “Greatest Show on Earth.” The stage filled with dancers, jugglers… basically a carnival like atmosphere amid his band.
Then, Kid Rock’s Senate speech. Will he or won’t he officially announce a run for Senate in Michigan? Either way, the crowd loved his more than five-minute mock campaign speech. “If redistribution of wealth seems more like their (the government) plan, then I don’t believe you should save, sacrifice, do things by the book and then have to take care of some deadbeat, milking the system, lazy ass @#$#$ man.”
Rock’s speech also bashed single parents who “can’t even take care of themselves, but keep having kid after kid. Let’s help them out with child care, job training and find them a place to work.”
Rock reiterated his love for all people. “I said it once, I’ll scream it again. I love black people. And, I love white people. But, neither as much as I love red, white and blue. And, if Kid Rock for Senate has some people in disarray, wait until they hear Kid Rock for President of the U-S-A.”
Back to the music, and, oh yeah, the surprises yet to come. In typical Rock fashion, he put on a high energy concert with a solid performance from the Twisted Brown Trucker Band. Rock performed the hits fans wanted to hear with “American Bad Ass,” “Wasting Time,” “Cocky,” “All Summer Long,” “Cowboy,” “Rock N Roll Jesus” and “Born Free.”
He also added a few fun covers with Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers, and Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever,” which saw Rock on the drums.
He also went back to his DJ roots and showed he still has mad turntable scratching skills.
Rock performed a song with the ladies of Sweet Tea Trio. He also surprised fans by bringing out his good friend Uncle Kracker. Rock left the stage for Kracker to sing “Drift Away” as a tribute to some of the great music artists who have recently passed away.
Then, a rare moment at a Kid Rock concert. “Picture.” That’s right. Rock performed the popular song which is a duet with Sheryl Crow. She wasn’t in the house, but it was fun to hear Rock sing it with one of his talented backup singers.
Beavis and Butt-Head interrupted the song toward the end to ask Rock why he isn’t rocking. Kid obliged with one of his signature hits “Bawitdaba.” He ended the more than two-hour concert with the Bill Haley cover “Shake Rattle & Roll,” but not before showing his appreciation for the new arena and the honor he had to be its first guest.
“Let’s thank the folks who built this place, the construction workers, plumbers, electricians, architects… everyone who got their hands dirty to make this place a reality. Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch, Chris and Kelly Ilitch, Tom Wilson and the whole organization for their amazing execution. The city of Detroit and its taxpayers for their investment in our great city. Tom Gores for bringing the Pistons back downtown. And, of course, the people who make this place run: the bartenders, servers, ushers, vendors, janitors, security and everyone working hard here to make an honest living. God bless you folks.”
“We as a band are extremely honored and humbled to be the first to play here. We hope you saw, heard and felt how hard we have been working to entertain you and make you all proud.”
Kid Rock has five more concerts scheduled at the arena on Sept. 13, 15, 16, 19 and 20.