Kid Rock kicked off his “Born Free” tour Saturday night in Detroit with a massive 40th birthday celebration at Ford Field, in front of a hometown crowd of around 60,000. Over the course of the evening, Rock was joined on stage by Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Rev. Run, Peter Wolf, Anita Baker and Uncle Kracker, while late night hosts Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel sent in video messages honoring Rock’s milestone birthday.
The nearly three-hour concert touched on all eras of Rock’s career, from his bawdy early days (1990’s “Yo-Da-Lin in the Valley,” 1996’s “Early Mornin’ Stoned Pimp”) to his “Devil Without a Cause” breakthrough to his latest, “Born Free.” The production featured pyro, lasers and two sets of gyrating dancers pole dancing on either side of the stage.
Backed by his 10-piece Twisted Brown Trucker outfit, Rock was in high spirits throughout the evening, thanking Detroit for its support over the years and saying there was “no place on earth I’d rather be than here celebrating my birthday.” (Rock’s actual birthday wasn’t until Monday.) The show kicked off with a cover of the Beatles’ “Birthday,” with Rock toasting himself on the chorus, and quickly rolled into his “Cowboy.”
Crow joined Rock for three songs: “Picture,” a cover of Free’s “All Right Now” and “Collide,” their duet from “Born Free.” Their chemistry and affection for one another was apparent, as Rock and Crow slow-danced with one another at the close of “Collide” like they were the only two people inside the stadium.
Rock made the celebration just as much about Detroit as he did himself, announcing $25,000 donations to four local charities mid-show. Later he was presented with a Chevy Camaro SS that was raised on a lift in the center of Ford Field, while pals Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber came on stage to lead the crowd in a sing-along of “Happy Birthday.”
Rock’s 28-date tour picks up Friday and Saturday at Saginaw, Michigan’s Dow Events Center and continues through mid-March.
Here are a few highlights from the show: Crow’s duet with Rock on “Picture” and Rock and Rev. Run’s renditions of “King of Rock” and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”