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Concert Reviews:
Kid Rock helps Miranda Lambert close 30th annual Downtown Hoedown
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

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DETROIT -- Truth be told, Miranda Lambert has more than enough moxy to have brought the 30th annual WYCD Downtown Hoedown to a close on her own Sunday night, June 10, outside Comerica Park.

But a little help some from friends just made her 90 minutes on stage that much more exciting.

Chief among those was Kid Rock who, at the end of a three-song mid-show set by Lambert and her side band Pistol Annies, strolled on in white T-shirt and fedora to join the women for a playfully woozy version of his hit "Picture," getting the kind of ovation usually reserved for Detroit Tigers post-season play from the densely packed (but not sold-out) crowd that braved Sunday's sweltering heat and sunshine.

"Well hell's bells; Kid Rock was on this stage," Lambert gushed afterwards. "We have friends in high places -- HIGH places."

The Kid Rock cameo was certainly the high point of an energetic 21-song set during which Lambert and her band unleashed a heady combination of gritty country rockers ("Fastest Girl in Town," "Kerosene," "Famous in a Small Town," "Gunpowder & Lead," "White Liar") and chart-topping heart-wringers such as "Heart Like Mine," "Over You" and "The House that Built Me." Lambert's mini-set with Pistol Annies focused on the rootsy cheek of "Hell on Heels," "Bad Example" and "Takin' Pills," and she tossed in a couple of covers including Lady Gaga's "You and I" and Rick Derringer's "Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo."

Lambert nodded to the Hoedown's home with an encore rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," and to finish her show -- and the three-day festival -- she brought out Chris Young, who's been touring with her for much of the past year, and other Hoedown act such as Jerrod Niemann and Kip Moore, to join her for Roger Miller's "King of the Road."

The ebullient Young, meanwhile, rocked the crowd well with his own 55-minute show, riding the strength of five consecutive No. 1 country singles and also delivering his own Motown salute in the form of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" -- after which he was serenaded with a "Happy Birthday" from the crowd (Young turns 27 on Tuesday, June 12), which he said was "a first for me."

Niemann -- telling the spirited Hoedown crowd that "you ain't here to hang drywall, that's for sure" -- brought out a three-piece horn section for his third festival appearance, an equally spirited set that previewed some songs slated for his upcoming sophomore album "Free the Music," including the gentle "Only God Can Love You More" and his new single, "Shinin' On Me." He also packed the hits, including the Top 5 "What Do You Want" and the chart topping "Lover, Lover," and let his band gallop through Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy."

Organizers are expected to announce Hoedown's attendance figures early this week. This year marked the first time the festival was held away from Hart Plaza and that an admission was charged, through Friday's tickets were distributed free through an Arby's promotion. It was also the first time the Hoedown was held during June rather than mid-May.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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