Concert Review: Kid Rock at The Fillmore

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Kid Rock

The Fillmore Theater Miami Beach

October 18, 2007

Better than: A Miracle Whip and Wonder Bread sandwich

Love him or hate him, Kid Rock makes an impression.

From the moment the house lights went down at Miami’s Fillmore Theater Thursday night, the air in the room was electrified with anticipation of what the self-proclaimed “American Badass” was ready to deliver. With a stage illuminated only by the soft glow of candles, it seemed the setting for an “unplugged” session. But then it happened ... the first guitar chord ripped through the amps, stage fully lit, band and back-up singers in place. There center stage, with arms spread, stood the Kid. But this time he had a new message. A message he wanted to put in your face. The kid was grown up and he intended to prove it. Two huge banners unfurled, revealing the new proclamation, ”Rock and Roll Jesus.” Was the “Cowboy,” the “Badass,” the Rock/Rap/Country boy from Detroit now ascending to heights of Rock n’ Roll spiritual royalty? It’s a tall order and a bold statement. It was a pill I wasn’t ready to swallow. So Mr. Kid Rock, show me what you got!

The first couple of songs seemed a bumpy lethargic ride with the audience not sure what to make of the “messiah.” I, for one, was ready to go outside for a smoke and a drink. But then the room and stage went black with candles giving the inviting glow to stay. From the speakers came a familiar voice, a voice since passed. It was Joe C., Kid Rock’s sidekick and band family member from the early years. Joe C, as if commanding from above (or below), shouted out the rap sequence from “Devil without a Cause” from years ago forecasting what came to pass… “I’m Going Platinum.” It was a fitting tribute.

As I witnessed the audience captured by the sheer raw energy, I began to lighten up on my cynicism. I paid attention to the individual band members, the back-up singers, and the synergy they were providing to what was turning out to be one hell of a diverse show. The band was tight and professional; the singers brandished sweet soul of the Nashville kind. Kid was giving everything he had. Somehow, Kid Rock makes Rock, Rap, Funk, Gospel, Country, Blues, and Honkey Tonk all work. “I like Johnny Cash and Grandmaster Flash,” yes he does! There were jam sessions with samples of ZZ Top, Deep Purple, and Metallica.

The highlight of his performance had to be the impressive round-robin jam where he hit every instrument on stage for a solo, from the DJ console showing his scratching skills, to the grinding guitar riffs and blues jam, to the ass-kicking drum solo. Again, somehow he made it work.

His brazen attitude and endless supply of testosterone-fulled energy played to the fans that love him. A rock star for sure. A Cowboy? An American Badass? Maybe for the image value. A Rock n’ Roll Jesus? Not too sure about that Kid, but keep doing what you’re doing, because one way or another you give your fans a kick-ass show! -- Carmel Ophir

Critic's Notebook:

Random Detail: Sitting with Sigi Ammann (Miami’s Keith Richards) wearing a Bud Ekins Triumph T-shirt, was the small ‘element of cool’ I needed to satisfy my night.

By the Way: A bow of respect to The Fillmore for giving Miami an amazing theater to see live shows in an intimate setting … long overdue!

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