HOME SOUNDcheck GOhear GOview GOread GOplaces DOmore


  » Contact Us
  » Advertise With Us

  » Classifieds
  » Newspaper Ads

Concert Reviews:
Kid Rock, DSO a winning combination at Fox Theatre

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2012

» See more SOUND CHECK

DETROIT -- Kid Rock agreed to do a concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to raise $1 million for the institution.

Mission accomplished, Rock told the crowd -- 5,000 strong, mixing formally dressed DSO patrons and tee-shirt wearing hellions -- on Saturday, May 12, just before his Detroit ode "Times Like These" at the Fox Theatre.

But the night's other success was musical, adding layers of orchestral bombast and spice to Rock's diverse repertoire, proving that the DSO can rock and that Rock's songs, at least the dozen played with the orchestra on Saturday, are sturdy enough to support a little bit of sophistication.

On paper, of course, it seemed an unusual and even alarming pairing. After all, the likes of "Bawitdaba" and "Devil Without a Cause" hardly seem like orchestral fare, and the DSO has surely never before worked with vocalists who drop liberal F-bombs and sing about prostitute, pimps, drugs and debauchery. The orchestra may play Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," but the terrain of Rock's song is little more, well, common in the rawest sense of the word.

And it's highly unlikely any DSO guest has ever referred to maestro Leonard Slatkin as "badass" before -- at least from the Orchestra Hall stage.

And yet, it worked, thanks in no small part to Rock and Slatkin's open-hearted embrace of the idea and Rob Mathes' complementary arrangements, giving the DSO a prominent place in the music but realizing it would be foolhardy to try to make the orchestra the star rather than the songs. The net result was a batch of familiar songs -- VERY familiar to the Rock's home town audience -- made richer, fuller and fresher by the new sonic trappings

With Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band in typically strong form, the DSO belied the fact it only rehearsed once with the group by executing everything from bombastic, Mahler-esque stabs on "Bawitdaba" and "Rock N Roll Jesus" and tasteful accents on "Devil Without a Cause" to bulking up the main riffs of "You Never Met...," "All Summer Long," "Born Free" and "Cowboy," the latter mixing tastes of Americana fiddle flare with Gershwinesque grandeur. Mathes borrowed from Al Green's Memphis soul on the ballad "Rock On," while melodic counterpoints enriched "Purple Sky" and "Picture."

The DSO also introduced songs such as "Times Like These" and "Born Free" with specially created intros.

Rock and company had plenty of fun with the odd couple notion of the night. Slatkin and the DSO musicians donned Rock's trademark black fedoras for the opening "Devil Without a Cause," and Rock performed the song in a tuxedo -- though he quickly changed to a black shirt for the next song, telling the crowd, "You didn't really think I was wearing a tuxedo all night, did you?" There were some sweet moments as well, like when Rock dedicated "Purple Sky," his mother's favorite song, to her as a Mother's Day present, and when he talked about flying a financially troubled fan in for the show on one day's notice and also hosting 10 wounded Michigan military troops at the Fox.

Those who wanted their rock, and Rock, served straight-up were also treated with a three-song, sans orchestra encore of "Son of Detroit," "Wasting Time" and "God Bless Saturday."

And the show may well have won some new fans for the DSO. The troupe opened the evening with 20 minutes of classical "greatest hits" -- "What we do most of the time," Slatkin told the Fox crowd -- and even won a standing ovation for Rossini's "Overture to William Tell" finale and arena-style chants of "DSO! DSO!" at the end of its set.

Because it was recorded and filmed, the show may well have an afterlife on disc, DVD and download. For now, however, it will sustain as a happy memory for those who were there and, according to Rock -- who was having an after-show libation when he received the call asking him to do it -- "the best drunk move I ever made."

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


GO & DO Michigan, an Entertainment Portal
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written permission of the copyright holder.

© Copyright MediaNews Group, Inc. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Arbitration