Garth Brooks? Dolly Parton? No, wait. It must have been Kenny Chesney or Carrie Underwood causing fans to swarm the Ryman Auditorium Tuesday night (Oct. 16) in downtown Nashville.
The concert headliner — Bob Ritchey — refers to himself as a “Cowboy,” but most people know him as Kid Rock. Although he’s a frequent visitor to Nashville, Kid Rock’s concert was a major event for the fans who lined up all the way around the block to reach the Ryman’s front door.
Just in case anybody had somehow forgotten his name, he let everyone know right away when he hit the stage. “My name is Kiiiiiiiiid Roooooock!” he screamed as he opened with “Bawitdaba,” the late ’90s smash hit that helped catapult him into stardom.
At different moments in the night, it was hard to tell whether he was a fast-talking rapper or a deep-thinking lyricist with a country melody. His songs and wardrobe changes happened as quickly as his rhymes. From the moment he walked on stage, fans remained on their feet — cheering, yelling and occasionally flipping the bird at his request. Those in the front rows crowded the stage in hopes of a handshake, a high five or, if they were lucky, a sweaty towel or a drumstick.
To begin the show, Kid Rock appeared in a white suit and black tie while sporting a narrow brim top hat. He sang brash beats like “Devil Without a Cause” and signature song, “Cowboy.” Later, he changed into another two-piece suit, mostly unzipped to show his bare chest. Women went wild when he decided to lose the jacket and play his next set of beats shirtless. Kid Rock proved his instrumental skills as he took turns at the guitar and drums, even showing off his turntable skills as he scratched different beats together.
However, his country side came through with the next wardrobe change when he sported heavily-distressed jeans, his signature white tank top and a straw cowboy hat while holding an acoustic guitar. He said he hadn’t done much talking throughout the show and wanted to make sure he introduced his next song.
“Everyone loves cheatin’ songs,” he said. “I’ve been married a few times. Hell, I’ve gotten married at Tootsies,” he added, referring to his short marriage to Pamela Anderson. In one of several wedding ceremonies, the two were married in August 2006 at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a legendary nightspot located just a few steps from the Ryman.
“Getting married is a blast,” he said. “Being married sucks.” He soon added, “And payback’s a bitch.” This introduced “Half Your Age,” a song from his just-released Rock N Roll Jesus CD, featuring the lyrics, “I found someone new who treats me better” and “She’s half your age and twice as hot.”
But this wasn’t his only country-esque song for the night. He also covered David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me by My Name,” which sent fans roaring and screaming for more while stomping their feet in support. He later sang No. 1 hit, “Picture,” with drummer Stefanie Eulinberg providing the duet vocal originally sung by Sheryl Crow.
Overall, the show proved to be a rockin’ rap, country, rock, turntabling, loud and electric experience. Kid Rock’s two-hour performance proved to be quite the success judging by the wave of thrilled and euphoric expressions left on his fans’ faces. Perhaps this was due to their undying and utmost love for the Kid or, then again, maybe something else altogether. Luckily, the windows are still intact at the Ryman, and no fans were hurt between the head-banging beats.
Though Bob Ritchey isn’t always close to the country genre, two things are for sure. The Kid can draw a crowd and, boy, can he Rock.