Kid Rock is the perfect act to headline the Minnesota State Fair grandstand on a Saturday night. He did it in 2009 and again Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 13,123. Here is why he is the King of Saturday Night on the Midwestern State Fair Circuit.
• He’s a singer, guitarist, drummer and DJ, kind of a jack of all trades but a master of one — entertainer. He brings the energy, the humor, the hubris and goofy but great dance moves.
• He’s old enough — 43 — to know better but he can still party his face off.
• He’s just like you, dude — only he has more focus and ambition as well as a bigger bank account and a smaller waist line.
• His “All Summer Long” is the best end-of-the-summer anthem. He mixes the sounds of Warren Zevon and Lynyrd Skynyrd with wistful Kid Rock lyrics — and those I’m-the-life-of-the-party dance moves as he twirled joyously in a circle and did his version of Michael Jackson’s moon walk.
• He touches all the right bases. He opened with a spoken prayer to God and Jesus then began by singing about the devil (“Devil without a Cause”). Before the night was over, he talked about smoking weed, eating mushrooms, snorting cocaine, drinking whiskey and name-dropped, in song, everyone from Johnny Cash and Grandmaster Flash (in the same sentence) to Morris Day and the Prince of Wales. And, of course, he saluted America before the fireworks because he believes in the Red(neck), White (trash) and Blue (collar).
• He had a Twin Cities homegirl, Shannon Curfman, as a backup singer and she sang “Picture,” his biggest country hit, with him as a duet. Sitting side by side, he hit a big note and she smiled, and then they harmonized. Later, he introduced her as being from Fargo, her original hometown but she’s lived in the Twin Cities half her life.
• He draws a crowd that makes for the best people watching at the grandstand. Not only does he give suburban housewives a reason to dress like wannabe strippers on a Saturday night out with girlfriends, but how ’bout a 6 foot 1 woman in Daisy Duke shorts? Or a neatly coifed middle-aged woman with a sweater emblazoned with “Rebel.” A tattooed woman with a Sons of Anarchy long-sleeve shirt and pink cowgirl hat, a tan woman with a bikini top and “American Bad Ass” ball cap and the wishful woman with “Mrs. Kid Rock” spelled out in sequins across her T-shirt. There was some male eye-candy, too — weightlifters, guys in Hawaiian shirts and fellows with apparel declaring their loyalty to AC/DC, the Ramones, New York Yankees, Jack Daniels and Sturgis. Best line overheard in the crowd: “This is my friend, Bubba.”
• He draws one of the broadest-based audiences to the grandstand. If the State Fair is a crossroads of Minnesota, then so is Kid Rock’s crowd. That’s because he resides, musically, in the intersection of Outlaw Country Road, Classic-Rock Avenue, R&B Lane and Hip-Hop Boulevard. (He snuck in snippets of songs by ZZ Top, Ted Nugent and the Allman Brothers into his own tunes.) Indeed, his singing skills have improved over the years — it’s more musical, with more range and character — but rapping is still his forte.
• He can drink whatever he drinks all night long (including Jim Beam) and still manage to get all the nonsense words to “Bawitdaba,” his biggest rock hit, at the end of the night.
Jon Bream • 612-673-1719 Twitter: @JonBream