Multi-Platinum selling recording artist Kid Rock arrived on Buffalo’s Town Ballroom stage recently to the tune of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,” because, if anyone knows the reality of growing up in South Detroit, it’s the original “Devil Without a Cause.”
He’s the archetypical American success story, a kid from meager beginnings who fashioned a better life for himself by hitting the clubs, and carving a niche as a no-frills lyricist able to entertain and infuriate in equal doses.
Then again, he’s not such a kid anymore, having turned 40 back in January of this year.
Not only has turning 40 aged him chronologically, but it’s also matured him musically and emotionally to the point that legends such as Bob Seger and Billy Powell made appearances on his last two albums.
While he’s still guaranteed to churn out a sexually charged romp in the vein of “So Hott” on occasion, his allegiance to old-school Southern rock has added a deeper dimension to his writing that wasn’t present in the early days, and made him a better artist in the process.
He won’t blow you away vocally, but the combination of memorable hooks and heartfelt panache makes for an evening well-spent in The Queen City.
Because this tour was all about giving back to the people, the set list wasn’t as important as the message behind it. All the proceeds from the show were donated to four different charities in Western New York, and the same will happen in each stop on the tour.
“I want to put my money where my mouth is,” Kid Rock said. “Everyone knows that Detroit is hurting. Even though we don’t have a lot on our own plate, it doesn’t mean that my hometown doesn’t have compassion to share with others all over the country.”
“At the end of the day, we’re all Detroit. We’re one country, one family.”
Highlights from the show include a boiling take on the title track from 1998’s “Devil Without a Cause, an extended-jam version of “Cowboy,” and a rowdy rendition of “Forever,” which the crowd sang word-for-word with deafening aplomb.
Some might say that having a 10-piece band complete with two drummers and a saxophone behind him is too much, but the arrangements of his most popular songs weren’t harmed in the least. Watching drummer Stefanie Eulinberg punish her drum kit with a smile is worth the price of admission alone.
Despite having a questionable ticketing process, Kid Rock’s sold-out evening in Buffalo will go down as one of the most entertaining club shows of the year. It was a perfect mix of artist and crowd energy, and the attendees were able to help out those less fortunate in the process.
Not too bad for a guy “straight out the trailer,” indeed.