The Michigan rock-rapper with a country bent delivered a career-spanning show — and some political fervor — at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena on Wednesday. (Review, photo gallery)
“Everywhere he goes, the kids wanna rock.”
And you might say, everywhere he goes, he stirs the pot.
Kid Rock devotees welcomed back their fellow Michigander to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday with open arms.
Robert James Ritchie, aka Kid Rock, sang his greatest hits and a few cover songs, and didn’t shy away from expounding on politics, patriotism and his love for Michigan along the way.
On a stage filled with dancers, people on stilts, a fire-breather and a juggler, Kid Rock launched the evening with one of his newer releases, “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Shortly thereafter, he didn’t beat around the bush while addressing the media show surrounding his possible run for U.S. Senate in 2018.
Behind a podium positioned at center stage, Ritchie touched on health care, single parents, taxes and more with an American flag draped around his neck.
Amid allegations that he might be violating federal election law by not registering his candidacy and not reporting campaign contributions, Ritchie has insisted he hasn’t officially declared his candidacy. Still, he ended his speech teasing a possible presidential bid in the future before — in typical Kid Rock fashion — unleashing his 2001 banger, “You Never Met a Motherf—– Quite Like Me.”
Beyond uncorking his most popular songs, including “Cowboy,” “Po-Dunk,” and “Born Free,” Ritchie said he wanted to “keep it fresh” by covering Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” and the guitar riff for Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever.”
The fans on hand embraced the diverse, career-spanning set list, from ’90s rock ‘n’ rap hits to newer country-influenced songs in a show filled with pyrotechnics, synchronized dancing and tons of streamers and confetti. (The night’s bill was pretty diverse, too: Country music’s Sweet Tea Trio, from Nashville, opened the show along with the soulful and funky Robert Randolph & The Family Band.)
Ritchie, who even poked fun at his career by displaying “now and then” pictures, also repeatedly thanked concertgoers for spending their “hard-earned money” to attend the show and praised the people of West Michigan. He mentioned that he spent five days in the city getting ready for the show and greatly enjoyed his time in Grand Rapids.
And to reward those fans, he ended the evening with a blitz of favorites: an encore performance of “Picture,” “Bawitdaba” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”
What’s next for Kid Rock?
He’s slated to be the first ever performer at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit next week, back-to-back shows that already have “stirred the pot” with some folks planning a protest.
PHOTO GALLERY: Kid Rock, Robert Randolph and Sweet Tea Trio at Van Andel Arena
Photos by Anthony Norkus