Friday, August 19, 2011
A lot of good concerts come through the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Tinley Park, but because it’s a two hour drive (without traffic) we had only been there once.
When we heard Kid Rock was going to be there, we decided to take the day off work to make the trek down to see the K-I-D for the second time in 2011.
The Best Laid Plans….
In February Tammy and I went to see Kid Rock at the United Center with Kari and Boobs. So the plan for Round 2 had all of us going again, but with Kari’s boyfriend, Tim G, and Boobs’ husband, Mike, joining us.
Kari and Tim G also invited another couple so I reserved adjoining rooms at a hotel nearby. That way we could enjoy the night without having to worry about the long drive home.
That WAS the plan.
First the couple Kari and Tim G had invited broke up and the guy decided he didn’t want to go because it was going to be “all couples.” That wasn’t the end of the world because they found another couple to tag along.
It was the the news we received the Tuesday before the concert that left us with that punched-in-the-buhhole feeling.
Boobs: I am afraid I have some bad news. So Friday… I had taken it off for the concert WEEKS in advance and my time off got cancelled on me due to two guys being out on injuries. One broke his ankle and one has gout. Yeah, gout. They let me know Saturday and I tried like hell to beg, borrow, plead and promise favors (not sexual mind you) and everyone already has plans and cannot work for me.
With that we were left with two extra tickets for a show that was only three days away because someone had the gout.
The venue was far enough away that it would mean someone would have to leave work early to make it on time. So while we were sad at not having Boobs and Mike with us, we knew we had to press forward so we could give the K-I-D our best effort.
Staking a Claim
We got on the road around 12:30 (wanted to leave at noon) and arrived at the hotel a little after 2:30 and checked into our rooms.
The positive side to being down a couple meant Tammy and I would have one of the rooms to ourselves. More importantly to Tammy it meant she could have a bed to herself.
Tammy: This is my bed.
Tammy: This is the bed I’M sleeping in tonight.
Me: Oh. I’m guessing that means I’m sleeping in the other bed.
Tammy: Yup. The only bad thing is that I’ll have to throw stuff at you if you start snoring instead of just hitting you.
Normally when we stay in a hotel we get a king bed which Tammy loves because we have a queen at home. The king bed allows her to sleep so far away that I can’t touch her. Since we had two beds in our room, this was her next best option.
It’s How Far Away?
After we unpacked I pulled out the computer to look up how far away the venue was and was shocked to find it was 2.0-2.6 miles away depending on the route.
While that distance wasn’t far enough to totally rule out walking, it was further than I had originally thought and caused Tammy to get a little uneasy.
Since we had a few hours before the show, I decided to drive over to the venue so we could see what we were up against. As soon as we pulled out of the parking lot Tammy commented on how busy the roads were and pointed out the lack of sidewalks.
Tammy: We’ll have to walk through that parking lot, and that one, and that one. THEN we have to cross that busy intersection and walk down this road without sidewalks.
We made it to the venue, turned around, headed back to the hotel and decided we’d wait until everyone else arrived before figuring out how we’d get there.
I had been in contact with Tim G and Kari to let them know our room numbers and to find out how far away they were.
After a few texts, Tim gave me a call and told me a couple had arrived and were sitting in the parking lot.
Tim G: Hey man, what’s the room number because Zac and Amber are in the parking lot.
I frantically looked at Tammy and mouthed to her that we may not have the room to ourselves after all because I had no idea who Zac and Amber were.
Me: Who are Zac and Amber?
Tim G: You met them at my Ribfest.
Me: I did?
Tim G: Yeah. It’s Man Bear and his wife.
Me: Ooooh… I had no idea who you were talking about because I know them as Man Bear and Dean.
I had remembered that Man Bear’s wife is the Dean of Students at a nearby high school so her nickname is and forever will be, Dean.
I unlocked the door to their room and greeted them as they were walking down the hallway. Man Bear had come straight from work and was going to take a shower so I headed over to our room where Tammy was about to shower as well.
I hopped in the shower after Tammy and a few minutes later I heard a knock on the door. Tammy went to the door and saw it was Kari and Tim G. So despite being in nothing but a towel, she opened the door and welcomed them in.
Hoping that Tammy would forget she was holding her towel, Tim G held out his arms for a hug. Fortunately Tammy didn’t take the bait.
I Think I Know You
After I got dressed, I grabbed a beer and headed over to the other room to hang out while Tammy finished getting ready.
That’s when Tim G told us about the run-in he and Man Bear had a little earlier.
Tim G: We got out of the elevator and there was a girl waiting to get on with “SLUT” on her shirt, right across her tits.
Man Bear: Yeah. Tim started talking to her, asking her if her shirt was telling the truth.
Tim G: Then we each grabbed a boob and she just smiled, so I guess it was true.
Money Can’t Buy You Class
At one point Kari and Dean were talking about Kari’s wine and asked Tim G for the corkscrew.
Tim G: You mean the wine key?
Kari: No. The corkscrew.
Tim G: They called it a wine key where I used to work as a waiter.
Kari: It’s a corkscrew.
Dean: What’s he talking about?
Kari: It’s just Tim trying to be better than us.
About a Week Back
As we sat around snacking and drinking Tim G mentioned that his back was hurting when Kari chimed in.
Kari: I hurt Tim’s back during sex.
Tim G: Yeah, she kept punching it and yelling “You take it” at me.
Concert or Carnival?
Since I had bought a VIP parking pass, we decided that we’d pile into Dean’s truck and drive over to the concert instead of walking.
I think it literally took less than 5 minutes for us to get from the hotel to the parking lot. Since we had the VIP parking pass, we were sent to a parking lot closer the the amphitheater.
I looked over while Dean was giving the pass to the girl taking the tickets and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She had on big hoop earrings that were so big Tammy could have used them as a hula hoop.
We parked and were quickly told we couldn’t tailgate. Apparently the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater was taking part of some fitness program because we weren’t allowed to stand behind the truck and have a few drinks. But drinking while we were “moving toward the gate” was allowed.
As we neared the main gate, an attendant who was missing at least two teeth, including one of his front teeth, told us that we needed to finish our drinks before we entered.
Been There, Done That
Once inside, Man Bear and Tim G stopped at the first beer vendor while I went to the bathroom.
When I got back, Tim G was talking to Man Bear about some girls he just saw.
Tim G: Did you see those hookers over there? I think they were trying to get backstage.
Man Bear: Yeah, I know. They talked to me already.
People Watching: Worth the Price of Admission
Within five minutes of walking inside, Tammy, Kari and Dean all felt as if they were overdressed. Apparently they didn’t get the memo that there was some kind of Guinness World Record attempt for the most women wearing short skirts and cowboy boots at one event.
As we made it to find a spot on the lawn, I realized that another memo must have gone out as well. This one was simply two words: Bras optional.
Normally I don’t have a problem seeing women walking around without a bra on, but when they look like oranges in a sock…
While Sheryls Crow was playing Tim G, Man Bear and I all headed down for a bathroom break.
We went to the closest bathroom and the women’s line was so long a couple of “classy” women decided they couldn’t wait and headed into the men’s bathroom. They just walked by all of the men waiting in line at the trough and stood outside a stall.
They chatted with some of the men as they waited for a seat to open up. I found my spot and the trough, took care of business and got out of there so I don’t know if everything came out alright for them.
The three of us met up again outside and decided to get something to eat. As I was studying the menu, Tim G asked me a math question.
Tim G: What do you think the ratio is of uglies to hot chicks?
Me: I dunno. Maybe 50-50?
Tim G: No way. It’s at least 70-30 with the 70 being the uglies.
Man Bear: Oh yeah. Look around.
I tried to take as many pictures of the “different” people as I could, without them knowing I was taking them of course.
During one of our bathroom runs, I heard two ladies randomly say, “Take our picture” as I walked by. Obviously I had my camera so I turned back to see who had made the request.
Where Are You From?
Tammy and I made a bathroom run after Sheryls Crow left the stage. We headed to a different bathroom in hopes that the women’s line wouldn’t be as long. No such luck.
Tammy told me to sit and wait for her. That led to the second time tonight that someone asked me where I was from. Typically when someone asks me where I’m from it’s because I’ve been drinking or I’m tired. I definitely wasn’t tired.
The first time was Man Bear in the hotel room when we had just started drinking. This time it was a woman sitting next to me while I waited for Tammy.
I told her I was originally from Mississippi and that launched her into telling me that they lived in Knoxville for a few years. They moved there for her husband’s business and she loved it. They even offered him a permanent job there but he didn’t take it. She went on to tell me about her theory on how people in the South work because they HAVE to work and there isn’t as much competition to get jobs.
I just sat, listened and nodded.
I Saw a Shim
When Tammy came back we headed off to get a couple of drinks. That’s when Tammy told me about her bathroom experience.
Tammy: So I was in the bathroom and I think I saw a shim.
Me: A what?
Tammy: A shim. You know a he-she, a man dressed up like a woman.
While we were getting our drinks Tammy started tugging on my arm.
Tammy: That’s him… That’s him…
What walked in front of us definitely was a man dressed like a woman, complete with long hair, a halter top and a mini-skirt.
I couldn’t help but think how Man Bear and Tim G would have reacted.
The History of Rock
The lights went down and the crowd roared because they knew it meant the show was about to start.
I knew there would be some similarities to the show we saw back in February since this was still part of the same Born Free tour. So I wasn’t surprised when I heard Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” play and saw the video showing pictures of a younger Kid Rock start up on the screen.
The video went through all of his albums, showing when they came out and how many were sold.
When the video went off, lasers shot all over the stage in various directions and the band launched into “American Bad Ass.”
The stage was set up like it was in February with the giant steer skull hanging over the makeshift saloon with swinging doors, bar stools, a stuffed bear and the logos of Jim Beam and Red Stag. Oh yeah, I can’t forget the stripper poles which must have been dirty because there were ladies cleaning them throughout the night.
After “American Bad Ass” Kid Rock launched into “God Bless Saturday” and “You Never Met a Motherf^cker Quite Like Me,” which had me thinking it was going to be the same show all over again.
I was wrong.
In February the next song was “Slow My Roll,” but not tonight. Instead it was “Lowlife (Living the Highlife),” one of his songs that I think he had a blast writing. During the song, white trash images filled the screen.
In the middle of “Lowlife,” he launched into the Georgia Satellites song “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.”
Up next was “Cocky,” which was followed by “Slow My Roll.”
While Kid Rock thanked the crowd for spending money to come see him the band started playing in the background. I recognized the song (“Midnight Rider”) and knew what was coming next.
“And I’ve got one more silver dollar,
But I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no,
Not gonna let ‘em catch the Detroit Rider.
I’m not gonna let ‘em catch me, no.
They’ll never catch me cause I’m a Cowboy baby.”
The crowd erupted when they recognized what he was singing. It was during this song that two ladies decided it would be a good time to start cleaning.
In the middle of “Cowboy” he launched into “Lay It On Me,” a song that I don’t know I’ve heard him sing in concert before. After the first verse and chorus he went back to “Cowboy” and by the time he was finished he had the crowd eating out of his hand.
The stage went dark and when the lights came back on Kid Rock was sitting at an electric piano in the middle of the stage.
He started talking to the crowd about how difficult life can be and how it would be a better place if everyone stopped to “Care” about everyone else.
Unlike on the album and in February, Kid Rock sang the second verse which is usually done by a women. A video of the rapper T.I. appeared on the screen for the third verse while Kid Rock continued to play on the piano.
After “Care” Kid Rock picked up the pace and went into some of his heavier songs with a mixture of “Somebody’s Gotta Feel This,” “Fist of Rage,” and “Bullgod.”
He then took the song where he says he “takes punk rock and I mix it with the hip hop,” “Forever,” and morphed it with Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” for a really cool twist. (Click here to see the video I shot.)
The song after “Forever,” was one of Kari’s favorite parts of the show as Kid Rock launched into “Sugar.”
The K-I-D slowed things down again when grabbed his lawn chair and sat in the middle of the stage. He addressed the audience a little before starting into “Flying High.”
Cause I like the beach
and I loves to honky tonk.
Up next was a song of his “Chasing Father Time” EP called “Forty” that’s basically a birthday song to himself. He played the same video clip from back in February where a variety of celebrities wished him a happy birthday,
Well, I guess I’m freaking forty, I can’t say that I am thrilled
I never dated Wynona Rider, I probably never will.
I could tell that a good portion of the crowd had never heard “Forty” before by the way they were laughing at the lyrics and videos.
Kid Rock got everybody back on their feet by having the ladies say “Kiiiiddd” when he raised his left hand and all the guys say “Rock, Rock” when he raised his right hand. The entire place was signing along, including Kari who wasn’t so hot at this part back in February.
That launched him into “Three Sheets to the Wind” off his 1994 album, “The Plolyfuze Method.” That led into his solo performances where he plays every instrument in the band. While Kid Rock was on the drums he led the band through the first verse of Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” before he ended on the turntables and showed that he hasn’t lost his touch.
There must have been a lot of pollen or dust in the air because after the solos the “cleaning ladies” came back out while Kid Rock went into “So Hott.”
Because you know you’re so hot,
I want to get you alone
After the stage cooled down a little, Kid Rock brought out Sheryls Crow and they went into a rocked-up version of “Love the One You’re With.”
While it was a pretty cool performance, the crowd really was looking forward to seeing the duo perform their smash-hit “Picture” and they weren’t let down.
They both pulled up bar stools and the crowd exploded when the band started playing the beginning of the song.
Over the past few tours we’ve always seen the song performed by one of Kid Rock’s backup singers so seeing it performed with Crow was pretty sweet.
They sang together through the song as it appeared on the album, except for a little twist at the end.
As Kid Rock sang, “I put your picture away,” Crow got up and walked to the front of the stage. A picture appeared on the screen and the crowd busted out laughing. When it subsided, Crow finished with…
Kid hugged Crow and the crowd roared in approval. As she was walking off, the stage went dark and MTV’s Beavis and Butthead appeared on the screen and took shots at the American Bad Ass.
Butthead: I thought he was Kid ROCK.
Beavis: Yeah… He’s like Kid SOFT Rock now.
While the stage was still dark, the band started into “Bawitdaba” which got the crowd pumping. When the music stopped a shirtless Kid Rock appeared and walked to the front of the stage. The crowd knew what was coming but Kid Rock, being the showman that he is, made us all wait.
With his microphone tucked into his jeans, he peered over his left shoulder at the screaming crowd. He had a little smirk on his face because he didn’t care how loud the crowd got, he wasn’t going to go until HE was ready. Just by standing there for a full 30 seconds, he had whipped the crowd whipped into a frenzy when he let loose.
He had the crowd jumping up and down and pumping fists in the air as he bounced around the fire-lit stage.
When he was nearing the end of the song, he stood in front of the band orchestrating them into a crescendo of music and flames.
He’d whip the band into a big finish then have them stop only to bring them back up again. He’d turn and tell the crowd to cheer for the Twisted Brown Trucker Band which would get everyone going again.
Then he’d turn back to the band and start it up again. He kept everything going for a few minutes before getting a big pop for thanking Chicago for coming out and heading off stage.
As is the case at every concert, some people started making their way toward the exits hoping to beat the crowds, but we stayed put because we knew he’d be back for the encore.
Sure enough, a few minutes later he was back wearing a plaid shirt and holding maracas. Someone was playing a saxophone as they walked on stage and the crowd wasn’t sure what song was next.
When the band hit the opening rift, everyone know it was the 2010 hit “All Summer Long,” but with a twist.
Kid Rock took everyone to church next with “Rock and Roll Jesus” highlighted by the gospel sound of his background singers and TESTIFY flashing on the screen.
Keeping with the “religious” theme he slowed things down with “Only God Knows Why.” This is a crowd favorite and I personally was glad it was just Kid singing it instead of with Jamey Johnson like in February. With Johnson singing, I couldn’t feel the emotion like I can with Kid Rock.
Since this wasn’t the big stage production like the early leg of the tour, the “Born Free” piano didn’t come up from the floor, but I could tell by the stickers that it was the same piano from the earlier concert.
Kid Rock sat down and started talking about how great America is and how we should love this country because it’s the best thing going.
He went into “Born Free” and by time the chorus came around he was standing on top of the piano.
And I don’t want
no one to cry,
But tell ‘em if I don’t survive: I was born free!
The song was hitting on all cylinders when Kid Rock pulled out the patriotic stops as a giant American flag dropped behind the saloon and fireworks exploded.
Tim G had headed to the bathroom because had to pee again and this time wanted it to be in the toilet instead of the lawn. Kari, Man Bear and Dean weren’t far behind and we told them we’d meet them at the bottom of the stairs.
As we were walking out, Tammy couldn’t help but laugh as we passed the Beer Can Lady. She was either an aluminum can collector, drunk or about to be drunk because she was hugging four or five of those giant beer cans while she sat. I only wish I could have taken a picture.
We met up with everyone and headed out to Dean’s truck. Because we were in the VIP lot we were in our car, out of the parking lot and getting food by our hotel in less than 10 minutes. That VIP pass may have been the best $20 I’ve ever spent.
A Hungry Man Bear
As we were leaving the parking lot, Man Bear said he was hungry and wanted to stop to get food but Tim G wanted to go to the hotel first.
Tim G: Can we stop by the hotel first? Because I really want to change my socks.
Man Bear: Are you f^cking serious Tim?
Needless to say we didn’t go to the hotel first and stopped off at Wendy’s where Tim G offered to pay for everyone’s food.
We placed our order and pulled up to the drive through where we were greeted by David Spade’s younger, gay brother who told us that Tim G’s chicken sandwiches would take about five more minutes. We pulled up to wait for the food and started having some fun with Tim G.
Man Bear started by telling him that were prolly putting some extra special mayo on his sandwich. Then he said they were prolly spitting on it. I pitched in and told him someone prolly pulled out a handful of pubes and put it on his sandwich.
Then I realized that they didn’t give us ANY of our food. They said it was going to take 5 minutes for Tim G’s chicken sandwich but it shouldn’t have taken that long to make my frosty!!
By time they brought out our food Tim G had almost talked himself out of eating his food. We pulled into the parking lot and decided to sit outside and eat. Tim G thoroughly inspected his sandwiches and found no special treatments. Well, except for the fact that they gave him a fried one instead of grilled.
Crash and Burn
When everyone finished we headed up to our rooms. Tammy was feeling the effects of her last adult beverage and crawled into the bed almost as soon as we got in the room.
She got into “her” bed and looked like she was getting all comfy when I asked her a question.
Me: Do you want me to sleep in the bed with you?
She didn’t verbally respond. Instead she looked up at me, smiled and shook her head no as she pulled a pillow close to her.
It was later when she kept passing in and out of consciousness that I captured this photo.
During one of her last conscious moments, she gave me a little token of her love.
Tammy: I miss you now because I’m drunk. But the minute you snore Im-a throw water at you.
With that she was out and our Friday was over.
Tammy’s love affair with her bed continued into the next morning. I woke up starving and headed down to the buffet by myself. I came back and it looked like Tammy hadn’t moved.
I asked if she was going to go down and eat breakfast.
Tammy: I’m paralyzed because I love this bed so much. Every time I move I fall back asleep. It’s because you closed the damn curtains.
She was right. I had gone to great links to make sure the curtains would stay closed AND wouldn’t block the air.
I showed Tammy some of the pictures I had taken of her in “her” bed and she really liked them.
Tammy: I look good in this bed.
As Tammy was gathering up all of the free shampoo, lotion and coffee she asked me if there was a way we could take the bed home too.
Unfortunately we couldn’t.
We packed up and headed back to Woodstock while the rest of the crew headed out to breakfast.