Valentines night came alive, at the Pensacola Civic Center, for the Kid Rock’s Born Free tour. His opening acts were: special guest Jamey Johnson and Kid’s protégé, Ty Stone. The mixture of southern rock, country and rap metal was infectious.
Cyndee Pennington, General Manager, SMG Facility Management Company had this to say about the show, “We are really excited to bring Kid Rock to Pensacola. We have a 10,000-seat arena and have a sold out show. We think it made a great Valentines gift idea – we have been selling tickets all day. It’s a great show and a great crowd.”
The Civic Center was packed to the rafters. The only seats not occupied were behind the end stage set up. According to Pennington, that area holds about 2,000 concertgoers.
Opening the night’s festivities, Ty Stone, Kid Rock’s protégé. He performed both an acoustic set, as well as some songs with his band. His rocking smoky voice seemed to surprise the crowd. As the story goes, a friend of Ty’s gave a recording of his music, to Kid, at a Detroit Pistons game. He got the call from Kid while he was cooking burgers in LA; he thought it was a joke – it wasn’t. He quit his cooking gig, and flew out to make music. Since then, Ty has been writing and recording his own CD, American Style it was released in June 2010. He went on to say he wrote the album about us.
Ty’s songs deal with the struggles of the Detroit blue-collar worker: hard work and steel mills.
As well as performing his own music, he covered some popular hits.
Next up was Jamey Johnson. This year Jamey was nominated by the American Country Music Academy for two awards; Album of the year, The Guitar Song, vocal event of the year for, Cold Beer: Colt Ford featuring Jamey Johnson. Johnson is a; casual, longhaired, long bearded, smooth country singer. One of his big hits “In Color,” brought the crowd to its feet. He played a twelve-song set, including, “I Saw The Light,” a Hank Williams cover.
One of the bars in the Civic Center said they had been through fourteen kegs of beer – before the main attraction hit the stage.
Last but not least, our headliner – Kid Rock. His stage was emblazoned, Kid Rock style. The drum set, of drummer Stephanie Eulinberg, was set high atop the stage flanked by two stripper poles. Just below her drum set was a gigantic replica of longhorn cattle horns. High above the stage were two large shotgun replicas, adding to the outlaw image.
He played a fifteen-song set, including all his greatest hits. Some highlights of the evening; a collaborative trio of Kid, Jamey Johnson and Cowboy (playing pedal steel guitar) all performing Kid’s “Only God Knows Why.” The final performance, by Kid, was his encore of, “Born Free,” where he played a piano that was in the round, and draped with an American flag.
If you have never seen Kid Rock perform live before, it is quite an extravaganza; flash pots (everyone can feel the heat), singing out of a folding lawn chair taking shots of Jim Beam on stage, wearing a lighted pimp suit, playing; the guitar, drums, piano, turntables and so much more.
If you want to see a high energy show – go see Kid Rock in an arena near you.