Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Three generations and Kid Rock, seeing it In Color

When Granma Emily first told me she wanted to go to the concert with us, saying, “I love Kid Rock,” I had to pause and ask, “You mean Kid Rock? American Bad Ass? Bawitdaba? F-words and three-fourths- naked women? That Kid Rock?”

“Well, he seems nice on the TV,” Emily, a.k.a. Granma, said.

She repeated, yes, she likes Kid Rock and planned to get tickets, too, when she heard that Mary Claire and I were going to see Kid Rock and Jamey Johnson’s Birmingham show Feb. 19. She wanted to take Dreama, her 15-year-old niece/daughter. It’d be fun.

I suspected my 73-year-old stepmother knew the southern rocker, ballad-singing Kid Rock of CMT fame, not the expletive-rhyming, stoned-pimp, bouncing b-a-from-Detroit Kid Rock.

No matter, fast forward a couple of weeks – Dreama had a church trip, so granddaughter Elizabeth Dawn, my niece, replaced Dreama in the three-generations-of-Romine-girls-go-to-Kid-Rock contingent – and we were in da’ house (as Kid Rock would say). My only regret is that we didn’t have tickets for all the nieces to attend, especially Patsy, who with her Kid-Rock-like attitude would have given us some of the street cred we were lacking.

Regardless, our three-generations-Kid-Rock adventure – a Saturday night we’ll always remember --provided living proof that attitude doesn’t have an age limit and that music and charismatic bad-boy singers like Robert James Ritchie, a.k.a. Kid Rock, transcend generations.

“I thought he was fantastic,” Granma said, as she turned her hearing aid back on as we sat and waited for the crowd to thin out and the smoke to clear after Kid Rock’s two hour performance.

A few hours before, we had looked like an unlikely crew as we lined up to enter the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Saturday night, amid young girls wearing daisy dukes and high-heel boots. Three generations of Romine girls were lead by Granma in a sparkly red shirt, sensible black pants suit and her comfortable walking shoes.

Apologies to BJCC security, but we made it through just fine, each of us with three Smirnoff miniatures stuffed into our bras – including granma’s ample bosom. Dawn couldn’t quit laughing at the thought of Granma stashing vodka minis in her granma bra. We bought Sprites (Granma paid) and settled into our seats in the upper deck, not sitting together, but close enough for me and MC to wave to Dawn and Granma, as opener Ty Stone entertained and Alabama native Jamey Johnson performed. Johnson gave several nods to our home state, in a cover of Alabama’s My Home’s in Alabama, David Allen Coe’s The Ride about riding from Montgomery with Hank Williams’ ghost (Mister, can you make folks cry when you play and sing?), and as a final number, uplifted the crowd with Hank Williams’ I Saw the Light. I loved Johnson and vow to download several of his songs, including In Color (song of the day).

Granma’s verdict on the openers when we met to buy more Sprites: “Boring. I’m ready for Kid Rock.”

Okay, Granma. Hold on.

For Kid Rock’s set, I traded places with Dawn, so she and Mary Claire could suitably dance and rock out without worrying about tipping Granma over. I sat/stood next to Granma Em, and seeing her reactions and comments made the show even better. If she was shocked at the lyrics or stage show with laser lights, timed erupting flames, a stuffed bear wearing Mardi Gras beads, a huge Longhorn skull spewing smoke and the stripper poles with the aforementioned three-fourths naked women, she never showed it.

Are those girls naked? No m’am, they have on bikini tops and thongs. I think they have those thongs for sale at the souvenir booth.

Granma drank her beer (having given me her bosom-warm vodka mini) and ate her popcorn as Kid Rock worked his way through Cowboy and All Summer Long.

“I think he’s a poet,” she said at one point. This was a hard point to argue, as I’ve admired Kid Rock’s musicianship and song-writing, his ballads like Picture and Only God Knows Why, as well as the fast-paced rebellious songs, including Cowboy, one of his most well-known songs. Not every poet finds a way to rhyme scotch and crotch, or chaos and Amadeus, but the Kid does it. Witness the lyrics (radio edit) to Cowboy:

“Cause chaos, rock like Amadeus
Find West Coast p---- for my Detroit players
Mack like mayors, ball like Lakers
They told us to leave, but bet they can't make us
Why they wanna pick on me lock me up and stored away my key
I ain't no G, I'm just a regular failure
I ain't straight outta Compton I'm straight out the trailer
Cuss like a sailor drink like a Mick
My only words of wisdom are just, Radio Edit
I'm flickin my Bic up and down that coast and
Keep on truckin until it falls in the ocean

With the top let back and the sunshine shining
Spend all my time at Hollywood and Vine
Ridin at night cause I sleep all day
I can smell a pig from a mile away
With the top let back and the sunshine shining
With the top let back and the sunshine shining
Hollywood and Vine

Some of the lyrics I knew were x-rated, but Granma probably didn’t pick all those out, but when Kid Rock, who turned the big 4-0 this year, sang a new song called F---ing Forty and flashed the words on the big screen, there was no doubt.

“What’s he saying?” Granma asked.
“It’s about turning 40, called F---ing Forty. He says f----ing forty; at least I’m not f---ing 41.”

We looked at each other and laughed and said, “at least it’s not f----ing 54,” or “f---ing 73.”

Granma Em brought her binoculars, and I kept them around my neck through most of the show, getting up-close looks at the stage, at the cool lady drummer he’s had forever, and at his changing outfits, from the fuzzy vest at the beginning to the Alabama Rock On ’04 sparkly t-shirt to the flashing pimp outfit to his final change, bare-chested with the microphone he loves to flip and catch stuck down in the waistband of his blue jeans.

“He’s got an interesting body,” Granma kept saying. When he came out sans shirt for the Bawitdaba finale, and I said, “look, he took his shirt off.” Granma said, “give me those binoculars,” and spent most of the finale studying the interesting body and lamenting “I hope his pants don’t fall off.” Sure Granma. And then, “is that a phoenix tattoo on his back?”

“Yes, and I think that's his son’s name tatted around his bicep.”

The Birmingham News reviewer Mary Colurso concluded that the concert was a “Kid Rock party, start to finish.” Granma and I, Dawn and Mary Claire agree. And Granma, who taught me how to bop and jitterbug years ago, held her own during our three-generation rock concert experiment. We laughed a lot, and Kid Rock has a new or perhaps renewed fan of his parents’ generation.

What’s next?

Widespread Panic is coming to town this spring; better not tell Granma.

Picture of the day:

Romine girls after Kid Rock concert: Mary Claire Walburn, Jackie Romine Walburn, Emily Love Romine and Elizabeth Dawn Romine McCrory.

Song of the day:

In Color, by Jamey Johnson

(With a great refrain and lyrics that remind us of our parents, our grandparents or ourselves, In Color won multiple awards for Alabama’s Jamey Johnson and is just one of this great singer-songwriter’s to-the-point songs.)

“I said, Grandpa what’s this picture here
It’s all black and white and ain’t real clear
Is that you there, he said, yeah I was eleven
Times were tough back in thirty-five
That’s me and Uncle Joe just tryin’ to survive
A cotton farm in the Great Depression

And if it looks like we were scared to death
Like a couple of kids just trying to save each other
You should have seen it in color

This one here was taken overseas
In the middle of hell in nineteen forty-three
In the winter time you can almost see my breath
That was my tail gunner ole’ Johnny McGee
He was a high school teacher from New Orleans
And he had my back right through the day we left

And if it looks like we were scared to death
Like a couple of kids just trying to save each other
You should have seen it in color

A picture’s worth a thousand words
But you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered
You should have seen it in color

This one is my favorite one
This is me and grandma in the summer sun
All dressed up the day we said our vows
You can’t tell it here but it was hot that June
That rose was red and her eyes were blue
And just look at that smile I was so proud
That’s the story of my life
Right there in black and white

And if it looks like we were scared to death
Like a couple of kids just trying to save each other
You should have seen it in color

A picture’s worth a thousand words
But you can’t see what those shades of gray keep covered
You should have seen it in color
You should have seen it in color

1 comment:

  1. Love it, Jackie! Wish I had seen Kid Rock himself! We saw Jamey Johnson in the fall and loved him. Come back soon to the Big Muddy. I'll be out there as soon as I possibly can. Love y'all!