Kid Rock Gets Mellow At The American Music Awards

A sedate Rock performed ‘Times Like These,’ a tribute to his native Detroit.
By Gil Kaufman





Kid Rock performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/DCP

Kid Rock has made a career of taking the road less traveled. From the scrawny bedroom beatmaker who rose from regional prominence to worldwide fame thanks to sheer will to the rapper who has slowly steered himself back to the classic rock sounds that first inspired his love of music, Rock does it his way, all the way.

If you’ve followed him along that twisted path, then his sedate performance on Sunday night’s (November 21) American Music Awards made perfect sense. With tranquil images of nature behind him, the outrageous American Badass took it down a notch, or 20, sitting on a stool center-stage flanked by an acoustic guitar player and male backup singer. Crooning “Times Like These,” an homage to his beloved Detroit, he sang, “Even though it’s bittersweet and brings us to our knees, it makes us who we are in times like these.”

Dressed all in black, including his signature lid, Rock recast himself as a modern folk troubadour, trading turntables for sweet, soulful harmonies and flashy, fur-dripping outfits for earnest balladry and a no-frills stage set-up that put images of D-Town front and center.

“A new day dawns as the good Lord shines from above/ ‘Cause in the rubble and rust there remains a home I will love,” Rock offered in his sugar-and-sandpaper finest. All the while, images of his struggling hometown flashed behind him and he pledged to still be there when things turn around.

The performance was a fitting preview to Rock’s just-released eighth studio album, Born Free, his hardest turn yet into straight-up rock and roll after a career of mixing guitars and beats.

What did you think of Kid Rock’s performance? Tell us in the comments!

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