In an age of dwindling corporate sponsorships and shifting audience demographics, there’s simply no getting around the fact that orchestras around the country are going to have to hustle a bit to make ends meet. Dire times will lead to some much-needed innovation. Collaborating with artists from a wide variety of musical genres is one way for groups–like our own Detroit Symphony Orchestra–to stir up interest, creating new fans and supporters.
Still, of all the homegrown musical celebrities the DSO could have teamed up with, Kid Rock wasn’t really the first one to come to my mind.
Kid Rock. The DSO. One night only. This is either going to be the benefit concert to end all benefit concerts or a pyrotechnics-laden trainwreck the likes of which Detroit’s arts and culture community has never seen before.
Either way, it’s going to be entertaining. If you want to watch this triumph/disaster unfold in real time, you’ll have to pay between $100 and $1500 for a ticket. The concert is, after all, designed to raise money for the cash-strapped DSO.
The concert isn’t until May 12, but I’m already getting excited. So is Kid Rock, who is busy concocting the set list:
“I have some ideas in my head: A big, orchestrated intro to ‘Born Free,’ all majestic, and of course ‘Picture’ lends itself to an orchestra,” said the rocker. “Then there’s songs like ‘Bawitdaba’ or ‘Cowboy’ and things like that, or ‘Devil Without a Cause,’ that I think are just going to be fun. Who knows what’s going to happen?”
Who knows, indeed–especially if each ticket to the concert includes, oh, say, a case of American Badass Beer.
I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around this whole enterprise–but that’s okay, because Kid Rock isn’t entirely sure how things are going to work out either. When asked about how his unique approach to modern songwriting and energetic stage persona might mesh with the performance style of one of the nation’s most respected symphony orchestras, he reassuringly stated that he doesn’t know “if it will really come together until that night”
Before you dismiss Mr. Rock’s enthusiasm as noble but misguided, remember that the classical/rock mashup has been done before. Often, the results aren’t horrible. Sure, there’s the string backup Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” but I’m thinking of something a bit more special:
Classical music is often seen as snobby and unapproachable. While that’s certainly untrue of the music itself, the classical scene’s reputation for stuffiness is perhaps not undeserved. If a Kid Rock/DSO benefit concert shakes things up a bit, great.
Kid Rock has promised an “interesting” night, and I’m sure he’ll deliver. We’ll see if the DSO’s patrons find the concept as amusing as I do and take the whole thing in stride.