Review: Kid Rock at the Tulsa Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

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Photo and Story by Scott Smith

There’s a lot more rock and roll that drives Kid Rock’s stage efforts than some people might think.

Yes, a strong hip-hop influence continues to race through the veins and vocal cords of the Motor City-bred performer, yet there was a sea of hard-rock Kid Rock live in Tulsa, OKsound in Kid Rock’s set on March 1 at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Okla., near Tulsa.

A team of three skilled guitarists, along with musicians handling bass, drums, percussion, keyboards, disc-jockey scratching and back-up vocals, rounded out the 41-year-old Rock’s crunchy, sleazy-in-a-fun-way sound for two hours of hit singles and key album cuts.

Spry versions of “I Got One for Ya,” “All Summer Long,” “Slow My Roll, “Devil Without a Cause” “Picture,” “God Bless Saturday” and the eternal crowd favorite, “Cowboy,” made the capacity, 3,000-member audience giggly like children and pleading for more.

Other Kid Rock staples moving the fast-paced set list along through a crystal-clear P.A. system included “Wasting Time,” “I Got One For Ya,” “Purple Sky,” “What I Learned Out on the Road” and “Rock N Roll Jesus.” When Rock slipped into the first verse of the tongue-in-check “Forty,” he smirked and poked fun at his own departure from his 30s, as well as the age of The Rolling Stones, before the crowd roared with a lengthy wave of laughter and whistles.

Donning mirrored sunglasses through the entire concert, Kid Rock strapped on a Fender Stratocaster for some impressive, string-bending leads for a couple minutes before manning the drums for 90 seconds of  efficient cymbal hits, snare-drum strikes and floor-tom pounding. Rock’s musical abilities continued to reveal themselves when he straddled a LP turntable for scratching and, later, chorded the keys on a sticker-covered grand piano.

Patriotism also blanketed portions of Kid Rock’s show, like when a giant American flag was displayed behind the band as they strutted through an inspired take of “Born Free.” Some people look down on such high-profile acts of patriotism these days, unfortunately, yet Kid Rock could care less. When he sang the punchy, Bruce Springsteen-esque chorus of “Born Free,” he meant every single, high-decibel word.

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