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Block Party Gets The Kid Rock Bash Started

Of the Oakland Press

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DETROIT -- You didn't have to wait until Kid Rock hit the stage Friday night (July 17) at Comerica Park for the party to begin.

Heck, you didn't even need to have a ticket for the show.

Rock's Block Party kicked into gear in the early afternoon, about seven hours or so before the Clarkston resident and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band took the stage for the first of their two concerts at the stadium. With sunny skies and the predicted rain holding off, The parking lots on the west side along Woodward Avenue hosted a classic car show, three local bands playing on a side stage and stunt shows by the Metal Mulisha motorcross team.

Over at Cheli's Chili, meanwhile, seven contestants whipped up their own chilis in a cook-off competition that netted the winner -- as determined by former Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios and actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. -- a $500 price and tickets to the show. So far 14 aspiring cooks have signed up for the 20 spots in Saturday's (July 18) cook-off, which is expected to be judged by some of Chelios' former teammates.

"I thank my lucky stars I have a friend like Kid Rock and the impact he can have with an event like this," an ebullient Chelios, speaking as local businessman rather than sports hero, said as he watched fans pack into the makeshift beer garden and restaurant set up beside his restaurant.

"(Rock) stays true to his roots and keeps loyal to the city. It's going to be a great weekend in Detroit and...it shows what a true Detroiter he is."

The two shows, each with a capacity of more than 40,000, are also serving as the roll-out for Rock's new American Bad Ass beer, which was being sold in the stadium and at Cheli's. "So far it's a big hit," Chelios said.

Todd Stern, owner of Small Plates restaurant near Comerical Park, added that the shows mean "quite a bit especially due to the fact we're in our slow season downtown. The fact that the Kid Rock shows are going on gives us a big boost."

The Block Party, meanwhile, was a hit with those milling outside Comerica, whether they had tickets or not.

Sara Gale, 39, of Macomb, Township came with her husband and another couple, all outfitted in T-shirts that Gale custom-designed for the night. "This is awesome," she said while drinking a Bud Light near Cheli's. "It's sweet. Totally different than any atmosphere down here."

Kim Cirspin and her husband, Chuck, of New Boston had tickets for Saturday's show but brought the oldest of their two young sons -- who had no idea who Kid Rock is -- down to Comerica to check out the motorcyles and cars. "He's into those things," said Chuck, who celebrated his 41st birthday on Friday. "It's something fun to come see and do."

Charles Rucker, 43, of Detroit felt the same way as he pushed a stroller containing his two daughters around the party. "We just wanted to look at the cars and see what was going on," he said.

Kid Rock and his music, however, was what brought a trio of fans to Detroit from Switzerland for the weekend. "Kid Rock rocks!" declared Sven Wider, 30, who came with his younger sister Sara, 27, and their friend Anya Wieland, 26. They first saw Rock when he played in Europe a decade ago and also saw him perform last summer.

"Seeing him in Detroit will be even more special, though," said Sara.

They can get a chance to see even more Rock family music, too. On Saturday, Stealing Heaven, whose members include Rock's son Bob Ritchie, Jr., opens the outdoor stage at 2:30 p.m.

Some tickets, priced at $46.50, remain for Saturday's Kid Rock show, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. with Alice in Chains and Cypress Hill opening. VIP packages, which are $250-$800 and include special seating, a pre-show barbeque and a commemorative bat and bobblehead doll, are also available.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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