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Concert Reviews:
Uncle Kracker, Bob Seger Help Rock Downtown Hoedown's Saturday Night

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2010

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DETROIT -- A pair of local boys -- Uncle Kracker and Bob Seger -- helped light up Hart Plaza during the Saturday (May 15) night edition of the annual Downtown Hoedown.

Seger was not among the performers; rather, he showed up to check out Steve Azar, the opening act for most of his 2006-07 concert tour, but was clearly visible to many of the Hoedown fans as he watched Azar's set from the side of the stage. Seger's daughter Samantha did get into the act, however, brought on by Azar to sing some backing vocals at one point.

Meanwhile, Kracker and his band -- "All Detroit city boys up here, born and raised," he boasted -- closed the night with a spirited hour-long performance that cemented the onetime Kid Rock DJ and hype man's crossover popularity with the country crowd, all the way up to his latest single, "Smile," which was Hoedown sponsor WYCD's top requested song of 2009.

With an abundance of family and friends cheering him on from side-stage, Kracker (real name Matt Shafer) let his country flag fly from the get-go, starting with a snippet of John Anderson's 1983 hit "Swingin' " before kicking into the reggae-flavored "When the Sun Goes Down," his chart-topping 2004 duet with Kenny Chesney. Kracker and company also gave a nod to Kid Rock by playing his hit "All Summer Long," but despite vociferous calls for a Rock guest appearance from the capacity-plus crowd it was James Otto who came out to join Kracker for the final verse during his cover of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away."

Kracker sat down -- to good effect -- for acoustic versions of the heartstring-pulling "Letter to My Daughters" and "Follow Me," then told a humorous story about hanging up on Kenny Rogers, thinking it was a prank phone call, before delivering a rendition of "The Gambler."

Kracker also tossed a bit of his DJ past into the set, taking a turntable break during a version of Sublime's "What I Got."

"Smile," of course, closed the set with Kracker asking the Hoedowners, "Detroit, do you still love me?" Of course they did, on a night when country, rock, pop or hip-hop faithful were united under the same Olde English D.

The 99.5 WYCD Downtown Hoedown[/i] concludes Sunday (May 16) from 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Performers include the Zac Brown Band, Darryl Worley, Julianne Hough, Stephen Cochran and others. Visit www.wycd.com for more details.

Web Site: www.wycd.com

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