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July 27, 2011
Kid Rock serves himself -- and fans -- at Sleep Train concert

kidrock.jpgKid Rock performs Tuesday night at Sleep Train Amphitheatre. For a full photo gallery of the show, click here. (Photo by Bryan Patrick/bpatrick@sacbee.com)

Kid Rock treats his recent 40th birthday like it was a milestone for everybody.

The rapper/singer's show Tuesday night at Sleep Train Amphitheatre included a ditty called "(Expletive) 40," and a video montage detailing four decades' worth of important world events, highlighted by Kid Rock selling millions of albums.

The Kid-centrism also encompassed photos of Rock standing beside Jay Leno, Hank Williams Jr, high-ranking U.S. officials and several strippers whose names the audience didn't catch.

Photo Gallery: Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow in concert

Among Rock's many fine qualities is an ability to turn over-the-top bragadoccio into charm. For instance, he did not appear to be showing off his celebrity buddies to inspire envy, but to let fans in on the thrill.

The surfeit of photos told the regular Joes, Jeffs and Ashleys who came to Wheatland that without them, the Kid would not be where he is now: hobnobbing with stars and still racking up platinum album sales.

The latest to go platinum is "Born Free," a heartland-rock album from which Rock and his nine-piece band (when counting backup singers but not exotic dancers) drew freely during Rock's two-hour show.

But they drew just as freely from older material, since Rock would never shortchange longtime fans by focusing too heavily on new songs.

Rock thanked those fans between songs for spending hard-earned cash on his show, and thanked them within his set by enthusiastically performing "Batwidaba," "Cowboy" and "Picture," his duet with Sheryl Crow, who opened for and later sang with Rock.

Rock has become a surprisingly confident singer, his gritty voice limited in range but pleasing. On Tuesday, he also played piano, guitar and, briefly, drums. He continually acknowledged the audience by referencing Sacramento, even coupling the city's name lyrically with the candy Mentos.

More direct match than a rhyme, the gesture was thoughtful nonetheless.

Rock danced in front of the barroom-themed stage set and in between flames shooting up from the floor. Though never elaborate, his moves revealed impressive dexterity from a 40-year-old guy whose frequent lyrical references to booze and cocaine probably were not drawn from thin air.

Crow joined Rock's set for "Picture" and Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With." Sharing the stage with the energetic Rock seemed to infuse Crow with more oomph than she showed during her own set.

Crow sometimes appeared disengaged while performing her greatest hits, less Malibu-mellow than going-through-the-motions.

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