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Concert Reviews:
Kid Rock Delivers The Good Word In Mt. Clemens

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2007

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MT. CLEMENS -- Kid Rock announced a "rock 'n' roll revival" as he took the stage Thursday night (Oct. 4) at the Emerald Theatre. But what he really presented was a smart, robust rejuvenation and refreshing of the Early Morning Stoned Pimp posture he's traded on -- to multi-platinum effect -- for the past decade.

Opening his Rock Sermon theater tour with a last-minute home town gig -- his first in the metro area since May of 2006 -- Rock and his refurbished Twisted Brown Trucker Band powered through a two-hour and 10-minute show that benefited from the broader dynamic swoop of his new album, "Rock N Roll Jesus," which hits stores on Tuesday (Oct. 9). It also showed the Rock and company could comfortably downscale their usual arena-sized spectacle into a more intimate setting, carrying the night with performance rather than pyrotechnics and platform dancers.

There was still plenty of swagger and braggadocio; it was, after all, a Kid Rock show, and what would that be without chest-thumping workouts such as "Devil Without a Cause," "I Am the Bullgod," "Bawitdaba," "Wastin' Time" and "Cowboy." But there was a more pronounced ebb-and-flow across the 20-song set, much of it attributable to the new material -- which, in this age of Internet leaks, many of the 1,500 exuberant partisans at the Emerald (including good pal Uncle Kracker and Detroit Red Wings star Chris Chelios) already seemed familiar with.

Rock -- who began the night decked out in a white suit and tie and a black fedora and changed outfits (and hats) several times -- certainly didn't waste any time pumping "Rock N Roll Jesus." He kicked off the show with the album's fierce title track, beefing up the Twisted Brown Trucker attack with two horn players (the Was (Not Was) section of saxophonist David McMurray and trumpeter Rayse Biggs), three backup singers and a percussionist. Several new songs were among the concert's highlights, such as a spirited sprint through the classic rock-referencing "All Summer Long" and an extended rendering of the soulful "Roll On," "Rock N Roll Jesus' " next single, which featured an extended solo by McMurray. A harmony-laden, unplugged-style version of "Blue Jeans and a Rosary" kicked off the show's encores.

In all Rock played nine of "Rock N Roll Jesus' " 12 songs, including the set's lone rap track, "Sugar," the John Eddie cover "Low Life" and "Half Your Age," his sly country kiss-off to ex-wife Pamela Anderson. The show ended with the stomping current single, "So Hott," an apprpros finish for a night that provided a potent liftoff for the "Rock N Roll Jesus" campaign.

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