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Pop Music Review

Kid Rock Pulls Fans Into His Party

April 08, 2002|LINA LECARO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Nobody transforms arrogance into pop fun quite like Kid Rock. At his circus-like show on Saturday at the Universal Amphitheatre, the Detroit rap-rocker tackled the riffs and melodies of everyone from Led Zeppelin to the Supremes to Eminem and took it upon himself to play solos on each of his band member's instruments. Of course, that was when he wasn't screaming out his name or bragging to the beats.

No matter how self-indulgent or over the top things get, however, Kid Rock (a.k.a. Bob Ritchie) maintains an everyman charm that keeps crowds right there with him.

With a trailer park stage motif, buxom go-go dancers and plenty of fireworks, Saturday's flashy presentation was pure keg-party hedonism--a perfect setting for his many Southern rock-flavored hits.

As his versatile band, Twisted Brown Trucker, rolled along with him, the wiry rapper-singer-musician meandered through classic licks (the intro to Aerosmith's "Walk This Way"), flag-waving anthems (a heartfelt rendition of "America the Beautiful"), a little tribute to his dearly departed co-MC Joe C. and a sprinkling of metallic head-bangers and twangy new country crooners.

His rhymes are audacious and often downright silly, but Rock rarely goes the ironic route. He may have a shameless manner and cartoony image, but his reverence for (and reference to) the musical influences who came before him is undeniably earnest, as is his patriotic fervor, something he had long before Sept. 11.

Though he helped spearhead the rap-rock craze, Kid Rock has more in common with Lynyrd Skynyrd than Limp Bizkit. Sure, the concert had its share of punk-like rants and raucous rhythms, but there were just as many low-key Willie Nelson-style moments.

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