Love him or hate him, Kid Rock puts on a show.
Rock, who literally flew onstage after a prayer to keep his band safe and to be entertaining in Omaha, is a force of talent onstage.
At the CenturyLink Center on Friday night, he rapped, played keyboards, twirled his mic, strummed a guitar, sang twangy tunes, scratched records, high-fived fans and held out high notes.
More than 12,500 turned out, many standing in long lines at the merchandise booth for pricey T-shirts, even longer lines at the tattoo booth (they were airbrushed, not permanent) and the longest line for beer and booze.
And they screamed for Rock. They cheered for him. They sang his songs. They jumped up and down and, yes, they raised those beers in the air.
“Welcome to the show,” Rock said. “It's nice to be back in Omaha, Neb.”
Rock and his 11-member Twisted Brown Trucker band played new songs such as “Chickens in the Pen” and old favorites such as “You Never Met a (expletive) Quite Like Me” in a set that lasted about two hours.
And you've probably never met a ... well ... person quite like him who can do all the things that he can do. For a guy with the bravado to have his name in lit-up, 4-foot letters and to talk about singing with Hank Williams and being on the cover of Rolling Stone (twice), he can actually back it up.
Kid Rock is so appealing because he — and his band, too — effortlessly switch between hip-hop (“Cowboy”), country (“Pictures”) and hard rock (“American Bad Ass”). And they're good at all of them.
Songs such as “Wasting Time,” “New Orleans,” “Rock n Roll Jesus” and “Only God Knows Why” had different compositions than their original recorded versions, which really showed Rock and his band's talents. “Wasting Time” turned into a strummy, acoustic, country-style tune, and “Only God Knows Why” sounded more like Motown soul than its original ballad format.
Rock covered all of his fan favorites, but he also played a good chunk of his latest album, “Rebel Soul.”
Opening band Buckcherry was also entertaining, especially with songs off its latest album, “Confessions.” Buckcherry is like a modern day Mötley Crüe, singing about the rougher side of life with the same style of heavy rock riffs. But Buckcherry's songs are a little more explicit.
They got things warmed up well before Kid Rock really turned it into a celebration.
Fans wore leather, denim jackets, “Sons of Anarchy” shirts and tons of Kid Rock T-shirts, including quite a few with explicit lyrics printed on the back.
When Rock came back to the stage for his first encore, they went wild and waved flags to showers of sparks, booming pyrotechnics and pillars of flame as Rock sang one of his hardest-hitting hits, “Bawitdaba.”
He ended the second encore with the good-times song “Happy New Year” — and balloons and confetti and gold-sequined jackets. Fans went wild. Again.
“Nebraska, you've been great tonight — better than good,” he said. “We hope you enjoyed yourselves here on Friday night with us. We love you. Good night!”
Contact the writer: 402-444-1557, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/owhmusicguy