In a defiantly-rambunctious show Saturday night (Oct. 7), Rock gave his fans what they came for, and (one has to assume) maybe more. Exotic dancers, fireworks and balls of fire were all present during "Greatest Show on Earth," an appropriate number to open a show that never failed in its mission to be self-congratulatory. Immediately after the opening number the stage cleared of performers and the strains of "Hail to the Chief" began to bellow through the speakers.
For many, this was what they had truly come for. Wearing "Kid Rock for U.S. Senate" merch, the night took on the air of an early stop on Donald Trump's presidential campaign, as the crowd greeted the moment with rapturous screams and applause.
After a few Ric Flair-esque "whoo"s into the mic, Rock began his speech rap with, "What's going on in the world today? Seems the government wants to give everyone healthcare, but wants us all to pay. Now to be very frank, I don't have a problem with that, but that's because God has blessed me and made my pockets fat. But redistribution of wealth seems more like their plan, and I don't believe you should have to save, sacrifice and do things by the book, and then have to take care of some deadbeat, lazy ass milking-the-system motherfucker."
Touching on the recent feud between President Trump and the NFL and Rock's own belief that everyone should have to stand for the national anthem, he stated, "Call me a racist, because I'm not PC... Nazis, bigots and now again the KKK; I say fuck all you assholes, stay the fuck away."
To guffaws from the audience, Rock touched on issues within the LGBTQ community. "Why these days is everything so damn gay?" he said. "I mean, gay rights this, transgender that. I say to hell with it, let 'em get married if they want, because we got way bigger problems to worry about than all that. But things shouldn't be this complicated; and, no, you don't get to choose, because whatever you have between your legs should determine the bathroom that you use. Pretty simple."
Rock seemed to base his set list for the night around the presumed crowd that these talking points would draw applause from. Capping his speech with a performance of "You Never Met a Motherfucker Like Me" -- which was met with a sing-along from the crowd -- he also managed to squeeze in some covers to bring the mood of the crowd down from its previous fervor. Rod Stewart's "Maggie May" seemed an odd choice, much more so than his friendly nod to the Southern rock past that he has crafted his image toward in recent years (as well as a remembrance of Gregg Allman) with The Allman Brothers Band's "Midnight Rider." The closing set of songs included those most friendly to his new Nashville surroundings, with "Born Free," "Only God Knows Why" and his newest attempt at crossing over to the country music charts with "Tennessee Mountaintop."
Rock rounded out the night by thanking all of those who attended for sacrificing their hard-earned money to watch him perform, just before playing a video montage of soldiers and the American flag. While America is currently as divided as it has been in years, for one night this audience -- faces illuminated by the screens -- could take comfort in their host's words: "Wouldn't it be a sight to see? / President Kid Rock in Washington, D.C. / Standing on the desk in the Oval Office like a G / Holding my dick, ready to address the whole country?"