Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kid Rock's bawdy swagger shatters the envelope for RNC parties

TAMPA — Kid Rock, that Detroit player, that self-proclaimed "American Bada--," made political history Wednesday when the hip-hopper became the first musical act at a Republican National Convention to open his concert with the lyrics: "F--- all you h---!"

Okay, I can't exactly confirm that historical marker. It's late as I write this, and the Oak Ridge Boys have been known to throw down. But you know what, let's go with it anyway. Indeed: RNC history was made by a potty-mouthed Kid Rock!

Rock's show at Liberty Plaza, the tented insta-venue set up a few blocks from the RNC stronghold at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, was the most buzzed-about gig of the week, and that makes sense: Has such a relevant, swaggering act ever played the RNC? Perry Como he is not.

Thousands stuffed the tent for the man born Bob Ritchie's raucous 75-minute set. It was a tough ticket to snag, but wow, it was worth the struggle. Backed by his sprawling 10-piece Twisted Brown Trucker band, Rock came on 'round midnight and launched into Devil Without a Cause, which includes that highly profane put-down.

The swarming throngs of ruddy-cheeked young Republicans huzzahed at the naughty words — and then they flat-out roared when Rock spat out this on-the-fly rap: "They say Obama is lyin' / That's why I'm voting for Romney and Ryan."

Okay, that's a pretty weak zing from a pretty clever cat. After that, though, Rock kept the politicizing to a minimum: "I'm not here to give any speeches," he said. "That part of the evening is over." Instead, he worked through the highlights of his eclectic, enduring catalog: the Skynyrd-biting All Summer Long, a countrified "Cowboy" that eventually morphed into an acid-rap breakdown.

At the end of the night, as Rock jumped from DJ turntables (he scratched records while swigging Jim Beam) to the drum kit to an electric guitar, he played the opening riff of Cat Scratch Fever by fellow Detroiter and noted conservative Ted Nugent. There was an immediate buzz, the cheers swelling. Could the Motor City Madman be here too? Was all Obama-skewering heck about to break loose? Should we hide the women and liberals?!

Alas, no Nuge. But by that point, it didn't really matter. Rock's GOP crowd, so used to tame entertainment during these shindigs, was in love with the rap-rocker, especially as he ended his show by unfurling a huge American flag and hollering, "Do you still believe that you live in the greatest country in the world?"

Could Kid Rock's show lead to bigger, better, bawdier acts in the future? You never know. Paul Ryan is a huge AC/DC fan after all.

Whole Lotta Rosie at the RNC? Bring it on!

Sean Daly can be reached at Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Kid Rock's bawdy swagger shatters the envelope for RNC parties 08/30/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 3:48am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. The eclipse will be okay in Tampa Bay. It will be really good other places.


    Here's what Tampa Bay residents making special vacations into the path of Monday's solar eclipse could experience.

    Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21

(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)
  2. Brandon family's pit bulls save small children from poisonous coppertail and get bitten instead

    Public Safety

    Two young children are safe after a Brandon family's two pit bulls saved them from a venomous copperhead.

    Slayer is recovering after being bitten and injected by a poisonous copperhead on Sunday in Brandon. Slayer and another pit bull, Paco, were protecting the family's two small children, who were playing in the yard when the snake appeared. [Photo from Video]
  3. Steven Souza's two passions collide in charity fantasy football event

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Steven Souza knows a thing or two about football.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 23, 2017.
  4. Housing starts fall in July

    Real Estate

    WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell 4.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million. Groundbreakings for multi-family buildings such as apartments slumped 17.1 percent, while single-family house construction slipped 0.5 percent.

    On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported on U.S. home construction in July. 
[AP file photo]
  5. Florida man has some of Princess Di's wedding cake, plus 13,000 other royal items (w/photos)

    Human Interest

    John Hoatson recalls the day it all began with perfect clarity.

    John Hoatson poses with a photo taken in 2006 when he met Sarah "Fergie"; Ferguson, the Duchess of York, for tea at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California.