If it wasn’t the “Greatest New Year’s Eve Bash on Earth,” as advertised, Kid Rock’s show at the Sprint Center on Sunday night was certainly one of the biggest, loudest and brashest shows all year in Kansas City.
For more than two hours, Rock unleashed his usual incendiary mix of rock, rap, country and metal upon a sold-out crowd that responded fervently to every song and every word, even (and especially) the firebrand political stump speech at the onset of the show that confronted and chastised everything from welfare mothers and deadbeat dads to gay rights, health care and racism/white supremacy.
That was all fake news, part of an alleged U.S. Senate candidacy that never happened, but Rock played it to the hilt, and the fictitious constituents in the arena guzzled it like champagne.
Otherwise, this was a typical Kid Rock show. He and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band marauded through a catalog of music that spans more than 20 years and comprises nearly a dozen albums and more than 20 Top 40 hits. Rock is a genre-hopper, a guy fluent in all flavors of music, so his set lists elude redundancy. He effortlessly sways from country-ish ballads to rock to rap-metal, swerving from braggadocio (“Cocky,” “You Never Met a Mother****** Like Me”) to sentimental pop (“All Summer Long,” “All Summer Long”).
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His 11-piece band included three backup singers, one of whom was former blues wunderkind Shannon Curfman, his duet partner during “Picture,” one of several highlights.
The band also included DJ Paradime, who orchestrated a skit that ribbed Rock for his many fashion and hair choices: from farm overalls to, cowboy hats and cornrows. As one photo showed Rock in a fringe jacket, brandishing a firearm, Paradime declared (paraphrase), “When did you become a buffalo hunter?” With that, Rock reappeared on stage dressed in Adidas warm-ups, carrying a huge boom box and the band lit into the old-school rap “Welcome 2 the Party.”
He exhibited some musical skills, too, playing piano on a couple of songs, including “Born Free,” and drums on another. He also delivered a few covers, including Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” and a bit of Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.” And he took over Paradime’s turntables for a spell, showing off his scratch skills as DJ Bobby Shazam.
He ended the show, and rang in the new year, with an uproarious bang: first “Bawitdaba,” then, amid a hailstorm of balloons and streamers, with his version of “Auld Lang Syne,” a party anthem called “Let’s Get Sh*t Faced.” After the party favors had descended, he serenaded the crowd with another classic rock cover, a free-wheeling version of the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’.”
In delivery and sentiment, was an appropriate finish to an evening that was, at the very least, as entertaining as anything in Kansas City on this New Year’s Eve.