A bunch of things stuck with Kid Rock from his two-night run in July of 2009 at Detroit’s Comerica Park.
The crowds, of course — a sellout of about 40,000 at each show. The opening sets by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cypress Hill and Alice In Chains, the latter of which was on the eve of its first new album in 14 years. The activities outside the stadium. And the launch of his Bad Ass beer.
But something else resonated even more, Rock says.
“One of the best things ... was just the people that came up from me from all different walks saying, ‘Hey man, thanks for putting me to work for the weekend. I really appreciate it,’” recalls the Clarkston-based Rock. “That really hit home and meant a lot to me.”
They’ll be working again this weekend, courtesy of Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band. The group hits Comerica for another two nights, following a guest-filled 40th birthday party concert in January at Ford Field.
“I think I’m just kind of the backdrop; the excuse to come down and enjoy our city,” says Rock (real name Bob Ritchie).
That includes the Kid Rock Bad Ass Beer Block Party, a public event outside Comerica, which will include a Ferris wheel, carnival games, a beer tent and food.
“We kind of look at this as like another opening day for people,” Rock notes. “We just try to get them to come down and have fun and enjoy Detroit, whether they’re a Kid Rock fan or not, whether they’re coming to the concert or not.”
And, he adds, “It would be very easy to play DTE, Pine Knob, make more money and be right in my back yard. But I think there’s something special to come down to Detroit and just have people out and about.”
The Comerica shows come during a break from Rock’s summer tour with Sheryl Crow, which has been playing mostly amphitheaters around the country. Rock says he’ll “see if I can talk (Crow) into making an appearance” this weekend, but he adds that after having Crow play at Ford Field in January, “I’d kind of like to do something fresh for everyone.”
Enter veteran rocker Sammy Hagar.
“Sammy was real excited to do the shows,” says Rock. “He even mentioned, ‘I’ll do it on one account — if we can jam together at the end.’ I said, ‘That’s not a problem.’ There’s so many great ... from Montrose songs to Van Halen tunes to so many of his own. I know he’s a big fan of Motown and whatnot, so who knows what that’ll turn into.”
As for his own sets this weekend, Rock promises he’s “definitely gonna switch it up from last year.”
“I always try to keep it fresh and keep it different, not just beat a dead horse.”
Nevertheless, those headed to Comerica — or planning to gather on the sidewalks outside the stadium to listen to the shows — will likely get an earful of material from “Born Free,” Rock’s latest album, which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in November and has been certified platinum. But even though it’s barely three-quarters of a year old, Rock is already thinking about its successor, noting that “we’ve already started writing for the next record and talking about the feel and where we want to go with it.”
He considers “Born Free” — which he recorded with Grammy Award-winning producer Rick Rubin — “kind of a transitional” record, and next time out he plans to go after “some really good, fun rock songs to some of the country stuff to some of the mix of hip-hop and rock and blues and try to make a nice mix of a record.”
“But a fun record, not serious. Rick Rubin made me a little serious.”
Rubin, however, feels that “serious” was just what Rock needed — and what he should keep pursuing.
“I love our last album (‘Born Free’). “I think it’s great and I think it’s his best album,” says Rubin, who met with Rock during June in California. “It’s the music he likes. It’s where he lives. So the goal is to get closer to where he lives, and I’m hoping there will be more of that.”
Rock, who took four years between “Born Free” and its predecessor, the triple-platinum “Rock N Roll Jesus” hopes to get another album out “sooner than later.” But he adds, with a laugh, “I say that every record.”
“I’d love to get it out for next summer. Is that gonna happen? I don’t know. I’m getting the process down where you go in with a lot of great musicians and just lay it down; there’s not all this wizardry and trickery on the computer. If that process works again, it’ll be sooner rather than later.”
Kid Rock & Twisted Brown Trucker, Sammy Hagar & the Wabos and Ty Stone perform at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12 and 13, at Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Some tickets may still be available at $49.50 and $30. The Kid Rock Bad Ass Block Party outside the stadium starts at 2 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday and is open to the public. Call 313-471-2000 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
No party like a Detroit party
The Kid Rock partying won’t be confined to just the Comerica Park environs this weekend. Some related throw-downs include:
— Cheli’s Chili Bar, owned by former Detroit Red Wings star Chris Chelios and located by Comerica Park’s right field entrance at 47 E. Adams St., has a full slate that starts at 2 p.m. each day including performances by Christina Chriss on Friday, Bridge on Saturday and Rockestra both days, along with DJs Mark EP and Kenny Ken. A rolling cover charge will apply. Call 313-961-1700 or visit www.chelischilibar.com.
— Real Detroit Weekly is staging a Rock Block and Tent Party from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday next to the Town Pump Tavern, 100 W. Montcalm, Detroit. Activities include amateur pole dancing competitions, mechanical bull riding, karaoke and a Pamela Anderson look-alike contest — open to both men and women — to win tickets to the concerts. Playboy model Markesa Yeager will also be on hand. Admission is free. Call 313-961-1929 or visit www.thetownpumptavern.com.
— Club Reflxtion is having after parties both nights, with DJs Mark EP, Godfather, AMF and Kid Rock hype man Paradime slated to spin and Brilliance, Playboy’s Yeager and the Detroit Dolls also appearing. Reflxtion is located at 1500 Woodward, Detroit. Admission is $10 and $30 for VIP, half-off with a Kid Rock concert ticket stub. Call 586-260-8289 or visit www.neptix.com.
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