Cheap Dates Rock

Cheap Dates Rock

by JasonBryan / Sep 18, 2015 / 0 comments
Saturday, 29 August 2015

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing these reviews with a little more of an experienced based angle instead of just about the music. So here’s a baby step in that direction. Kid Rock came to the San Manuel Amphitheater in Devor, CA, this past weekend accompanied by Foreigner and the Packway Handle Band. It was his second of two shows in the area, the first being at Verizon Wireless in Irvine. I chose the San Manuel show because I have a dislike for the venue in Irvine, the concessions are far from the seats, and the bathroom line is guaranteed to be a couple of songs long. Devore may be slightly farther away, but its about what goes on inside the venue, not getting to the venue that counts for me. That being said this time around the San Manuel Amphitheater was a disaster.

It started out on the right track. The tailgating there is pretty good, and a friend of mine who arrived earlier in the day was so blitzed, the late comers, which included me, felt obligated to pound some beers to catch up. We actually got caught up in partying, and didn’t head to the gate until about 15 mintues into Packway Handle Band’s set, my apologies to them, but such is life in music, both for the audience and the performer. Once we got to the gate it was a mob, I didn’t realize it at first, but for some reason the security checkpoint had stopped and the crowd was at a standstill. Eventually it resumed.

Once inside the venue the concession lines were ridiculous. But I chose one figuring there should be time to get a beer before Foreigner comes on. Now, Foreigner is my favorite of the pop ‘70’s era bands, (Boston, Journey, REO Speedwagon, etc), and this is my first chance to see them. I’m about 10 people deep in the beer line when they start playing Double Vision. I get anxious, but I can tell that its ten people but only 3 groups, not too bad. The line however is moving about as fast as the halted security entrance. They get threw, Double Vision, Cold as Ice, and Head Games before I’m even the next person in line. I’m pissed. A friend of mine is in front of me and she orders a double Bullet on the rocks (they have alcohol as well as beer at this station), the cashier says, “What’s that?” My friend clearly explains that “it’s the whiskey you advertise on your sign, and on the rocks means on ice; a double means two shots instead of one.” They manage to figure this out. I go next and order the same drink, the cashier says “What’s that?” In short they can’t figure it out a second time and I take two Budweiser and race to the seats. It turns out the issue was that concessions were being run by volunteers, and concession proceeds were going to their cause. I’m not against charity, but a staff manager or two would have made a huge difference in expediting and quality of service.

Once we got to the seats Foreigner killed it. Of course I was too pissed off at first to realize it. Halfway through Urgent, Ian McDonalds sax solo reminded me I was watching rock and roll legends. Kelly Hanson (the current singer) popped up on a little platform in the middle of the venue for Juke Box Hero and the place went nuts. Its one of the great rock and roll anthems, and anyone in attendance with rock and roll dreams had to have been swept up as they rocked it. In a rarity for opening acts they actually went off the stage and came back to do two encores, which just reminded you how they really should have been listed as co-headliners, which seams to be more and more popular these days; probably in large to compensate for the ridiculous and inflating cost of tickets. However, this show was $20 plus fees for all seats, something other artists and promoters should figure out. Then they finished with I Want to Know What Love Is, and Hot Blooded. For the non-Foreigner fans it was a real treat to hear so many songs that they knew and never realized they were the same band. Heck I didn’t realize how many songs were theirs until the late nineties.

Kid Rock followed the current trend of playing a video before the band comes out. I’m still on the fence with this, I get its purpose, it’s a slightly better warning than milling about at intermission and the lights go down, and you’re no where near your seat when the band kicks into one of their most popular numbers. But every show that I’ve seen with this gimmick there is recorded music of the band you’re there to see, and your slightly duped for a second, and then annoyed because you’re there to hear it played live not on tape.

Kid Rock came out and immediately went into First Kiss and another track off his new album, than afterword said he always hates it when halfway through the concert when you’re having a blast, the band plays songs off their new album and kills the mood. Got to give him props for trying something new. I would have completely loved this concept, but overall I felt he played too much newer stuff, but I guess I’m an old school fan. Whether people want to admit it or not the first time they heard Bawitdaba it blew their mind, and that Devil Without a Cause is an awesome and solid album, too bad only 4 and 1/3 songs were played from it. Two tracks he played from the album, Wasting Time and Only God Knows Why, are two of my all time favorite songs and having seen Kid a few times Wasting Time does not always get played so I was super pumped, and having three back up vocalists harmonizing the chorus really nailed it home for me. Some may see Kid as a novelty, but he puts on a good show, he has a 12 piece band, so the music is always full and raucous. Kid Rock being from Detroit (and he tells you about it in at least one song an album) it was no surprise when the band went into the base riff from the Temptations My Girl, but it was a surprise when they played Picture to that base line, and it worked, and I liked it a lot.

At one point Kid went into a story-time like medley, mentioning how the diversity of his music is tied into how he felt and what was important to him at the time he wrote it, and at what was important at twenty isn’t what’s important to him into his forties. He first went into a verse and course from Somebody’s Got to Feel This, and at some point went into Midnight Train to Memphis, but I felt that too much of this stuff was from newer albums. I’d rather hear a small piece of a song I love than not hear it at all, but I still want to hear the songs I think are the best. I get he’s trying to mix it up and play songs from multiple albums and my opinion may not reflect the rest of the fans or record sales. He mentioned his struggles before he wrote his biggest chart hit, All Summer Long, and then went into the Sweet Home Alabama and Werewolves of London mixed song. Throughout my musical fandom I’ve noticed many an artists biggest hit is from a period after what I consider their prime, which clearly indicates I’m wrong, but doesn’t make me change my opinion. I may be disappointed in the set list, but Kid Rock and his backing band Twisted Brown Trucker, played every song excellently. It was all rock and roll in its purest form, and fan or not Kid Rock is an excellent entertainer. At one point he works his way through the mix tables and the drum set showing his musical prowess and diversity. Which he’s done every time I’ve seen him, back in the day he used to play guitar and bass when he did this bit.

Early in the show I was making fun of the giant Chevrolet sign on the top of the stage, but Kid Rock brought attention to it and said that’s how he keeps the cost down. Every show I go to charges three times as much and they have just as much advertising with the exception of one giant sign. It may be the definition of selling out, but offering fairer priced tickets is worth the sacrifice.

Overall Foreigner and Kid Rock were a fantastic pairing. Combined, they spanned over fifty years of rock and roll, and Kid Rock gives you a taste of every genre. Its something any music fan can appreciate.

Rating out of 11: