September 2, 2011
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Angie Ross
Photos by Michael Insuaste
Kid Rock and the Twisted Brown Trucker Band brought their Born Free tour to Gexa Pavilion in Dallas on Friday, September 2, 2011. The stage was decked out like a hunting lodge complete with a stuffed bear, oversized hunting rifles hanging overhead, makeshift bars and saloon doors the band entered through. Kid Rock brought the total rock show to Dallas with lasers, frequently blazing pyro and the pole dancers/strippers.
Born Free, the latest album, comes to life when it's played live. On vinyl the tunes have a passive feel. Played live, songs like 'Born Free' and 'Care' illustrate their meaning and the lyrics grab the audience. Kid Rock took a clever turn by combining several of his hit songs into seamless medleys so as not to leave audience favorites out.
If this was your first Kid Rock show, or your 30th you walked away feeling like he put everything into the show for the fans to get their money's worth. He acknowledged ever increasing concert ticket prices and offered up half price shirts on the tour and lowered beer to $4.00 at the Dallas show. Great videos played thru the show, particularly on 'Low Life' as photos splashed on the screens of people who have passed out in unique positions/poses, people who march to the beat of their own drummer, etc.
The Twisted Brown Trucker band was on top of their game. A standout was the big imposing dude on the sax, Dave McMurray. He can hold his own in the spotlight with solos on songs like 'Born Free'.
There were no lulls in the show, no good-time-to-go-to-the-bathroom moments. Every transition in the show kept the audience entertained. One such spot featured Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel offering up taped birthday greetings before the 40 year old Kid Rock played John Eddie's 'F*cking Forty'.
Sheryl Crow is touring as the opener. She also made an appearance to duet on a cover of 'Love the One You're With'. (Look for this version to be played in a Vegas lounge in about 30 years). The video screens were scrambled at the conclusion of her and Kid Rock's performance of 'Picture' and Beavis and Butthead popped up to throw a few punches at the soft rock sounds of Kid Rock. In retaliation, Kid Rock sent the show into overdrive with 'Bawitdaba'.
'All Summer Long' began simply with just Kid Rock singing and backed by maracas. It grew from there omitting the 'Werewolves of London' melody but keeping the staple of the 'Sweet Home Alabama' audience sing along. Closing the show were 'Only God Knows Why', 'Born Free' (with an American Flag dropping from behind the stage) featuring Rock on a gold piano and 'Rock and Roll Jesus'. The real story on this tour was not all the bells and whistles that an audience comes to expect. Sure they got that 110%. But there's a definite transition going on from Kid Rock the showman to Kid Rock the lyricist.