Kid Rock

Live Trucker

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Kid Rock may have styled his first live album, Live Trucker, after Bob Seger's classic Live Bullet, paying homage to the artwork right down to the typeface and also choosing to record in his hometown of Detroit, but if Live Bullet caught Seger on the rise, Live Trucker catches Kid on his decline. This isn't a hard-driving, sweaty rock & roll record; this is a Vegas revue, all glam and glitz, with its heart in showbiz. Of course, Kid Rock has always had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek when he went about his self-mythologizing, particularly on his still potent and funny 1998 breakthrough, Devil Without a Cause, but on this live effort recorded largely in August 2004, his joking has turned into inadvertent self-parody. This wasn't the case on his eponymous 2003 effort, which may not have set the charts on fire, but it did capture him in good form, where his rough and rowdy ways still seemed roguishly charming. Here, it's possible to hear the toll that all the partying has taken on him: he sounds hoarse and winded, and when he trades lines with his keyboardist, it seems as if it's because he doesn't have the energy to finish the song, not because it makes for a better show. And while the Twisted Brown Trucker Band sound tight, they also sound too slick, never really giving this white trash rock & roll the grit that it needs. Of course, the album isn't helped by its ridiculously front-loaded sequencing, where "Bawitadaba," "Cowboy," and "Devil Without a Cause" follow back to back in the first four tracks, and his next biggest hit, "Picture" (here performed with Gretchen Wilson, not Sheryl Crow), also appears in the first half of the record; with the exception of "Only God Knows Why," the second half consists largely of new material, or lesser-known hits.

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