Kid Rock / The Trews
May 18, 2011
Click here for Concert Photos: Donna Mair
An enormous white silk sheet separates a sold out audience from the massive stage at Kelowna’s Prospera Center. A flood light lights up the barrier from behind to reveal a shadow outfitted in a leather jacket with 2 foot long fringes down each arm that show up crisp and clear as the figure stretches out their arms in the classic Jesus pose – then the sheet is rapidly yanked away by unseen hands to reveal Kid Rock who instantly rips it up.
Opening with Rock and Roll Jesus, Kid Rock is outfitted in a floppy straw hat and old skool brown toned aviator sunglasses as he dances up and down the 30-40 foot long ramp that extends far into the floor seating,
Stripping off the leather jacket, Kid Rock’s plain brown tee might not be flashy, but it hugs his lithe body and intensifies his fluid dance moves which are mesmerizing. At the end of the ramp he catches sight of people trying to take photos and stops, takes off his sunglasses and peers in their direction which elicits a fury of flashes – the glasses go back on and the song morphs into the next song, God Bless Saturday.
The backup band is huge: two female singers, guitarist, bass, rhythm guitar, sax player, percussion section with full drum kit, and the main drummer perched high above the stage sitting on top of a giant cow skull with horns spanning a good 15-20 feet or more. Also added to the mix are two gents using turntables for some of the songs, and an enormous video screen behind it all.
I was just getting into the groove and enjoying the experience when Sugar hit the set list. Kid, you had me up to, “I’m gonna fuck hot pussy till its cold.” I know Kid Rock has a reputation, but with much of his newest album being a more mainstream, introspective body of work, and with Care, speaking of caring enough about your fellow man to actually get off your ass and do something about it (sung with a single spot and full sized piano), being sung just previous, it seems an odd juxtaposition of sentiments.
Actually, the entire rest of the show was like this – pseudo-strippers pole dancing on either side of the main drum kit (looking incredibly bored and it’s only show #2) while Kid sang the raunch, then the next song delving into God and spiritual matters (Only God Knows Why). It seems Kid Rock is still trying to find himself.
Pyrotechnics were used throughout, but to maximum effect (to enhance, not to overwhelm). The giant cow skull breathed smoke, laser lights cut into the darkened venue on select songs, and all the while Kid Rock sang and danced, and would have been just as intense and hypnotic with only a backing track and a 6ft square patch of bare asphalt. Whatever I might think about his lyrics or ‘sleaze’ reputation – the man has talent – that ‘something’ that is undeniable and draws you to him. He exudes being likeable, even from a distance, and you can’t help but want to know more. Now if he can only decide which way to roll.
The Trews warmed up the audience, opening the show for Kid Rock with perennial favorites Poor Old Broken-hearted Me, Hold Me in Your Arms, as well as an extended version of new song Hope and Ruin (which was recently used by Canucks TV to highlight the team’s playoff run for the Stanley Cup), and a stunning rendition of Highway of Heroes, which singer Colin MacDonald introduced as “a song to support our troops, not to support the war.” Having only seen them previously in small intimate venues, it was interesting to see them perform on the big stage, where they were just as comfortable; connecting with the audience early on and filling the venue with big sound.
If you have a chance to catch Kid Rock and The Trews, don’t miss it.