Kid Rock is the cockiest guy in the world.
And in his songs, he boasts his various abilities — salacious and otherwise — while saying "it ain't bragging ... if you back it up."
On Wednesday night at TD Ameritrade Park, Rock — born Robert James Ritchie — did his best to back up those boasts in front of almost 14,000 people over nearly two hours at the Red Sky Music Festival.
"Welcome to the show," Rock said after taking the stage in sunglasses, shorts, a black hat and black T-shirt. "It's Wednesday night in Omaha! You know what we're gonna do tonight, right? We're gonna kick it up a couple degrees."
Backed by the 10-member Twisted Brown Trucker Band, Rock sure knows how to play a big venue.
He worked the crowd Wednesday night with his huge, rocking songs and an enormous stage show — enough lasers, smoke, pyrotechnics, videos and lights to make the made-up members of KISS jealous.
The stage was set up as a giant tavern with wood paneling, a fully stocked bar, booze signs and decorations that included a giant longhorn skull.
Rock played much of his latest album, "Born Free," as well as plenty of old hits such as "Bawitdaba," "Cocky" and "You Never Met A (Expletive) Quite Like Me."
Unfortunately, despite all the spectacle and the platinum-selling hit songs, the tone of the set was all over the place.
Though the concert was full of crazy and spectacular moments, they were strung together in the strangest order. Over-the-top rock numbers were followed by slower songs that fed into medleys of Rock's tunes that were unrelated in style or substance.
Still, moments of brilliance were plentiful. Rock sang the hilarious song "Forty" about getting older, engaged the audience in loud call and response at various times and played all of his hits.
He also performed the wildest solo I've ever seen. First, he got behind his DJ's turntables and did record scratches before picking up a guitar and playing various riffs. He finally finished it off by playing the drums and singing to Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever."
Near the end of his set, Rock began playing one of his biggest hits, "Picture," before he was interrupted by a video of cartoon slackers Beavis and Butt-Head asking him why he wasn't rocking more. Rock then broke into "Bawitdaba," which included at least 30 seconds of him standing still onstage while fans screamed.
The set was closed with a new version of "All Summer Long" (no Warren Zevon or Lynyrd Skynyrd samples), "Only God Knows Why" (Rock was joined onstage by opener Jamey Johnson) and "Born Free" (Rock's latest single and one of his very best ever).
The big show topped off a big day for Red Sky.
In fact, Wednesday was the biggest day yet of the festival attendancewise. The festival drew 3,300 people during the day and almost 14,000 at night. That's more than both Monday and Tuesday, which had 2,300 during each day as well as 12,500 for Journey and 7,300 for 311.
Temperatures were also the highest yet, but MECA officials said that everything continued to go smoothly and that there were no emergencies dealing with heat-related illnesses.
With all of the jets of flame erupting from the stage Wednesday night, it's a wonder that Rock and his band didn't get overheated. The flames were just one of the many attractions during the show, along with pole dancers in Daisy Duke outfits and cowboy hats who danced during "Cowboy."
The fans sure seemed to enjoy it. Beer was a popular beverage, with 50 people lined up at some of the beer stands at times. At least one fan had a little too much fun: I saw some vomit in a corner of the concourse.
Still, most fans seemed to keep it in check and threw their admiration at a grateful Kid Rock.
"Omaha, thank you for coming out tonight," he said.
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