Kid rocks: Concert draws thousands
Charlie Starr, singer and guitarist for the band Blackberry Smoke, scans the crowd of uniformed Soldiers gathered in front of the stage on Hilton Field Saturday. The Atlanta-based Southern rock band opened for Kid Rock.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- A gigantic stage flanked by two widescreen displays all but covered the "Fort Jackson" sign on Hilton Field, transforming the parade grounds into a rock arena for Kid Rock's "Salute the troops" concert Saturday.

More than 35,000 concertgoers made their way to the show, which was free for military ID card holders. Among those in attendance were Soldiers in Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training.

Pvt. Shaina Grondin, 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), said she was excited to be able to see one of her favorite artists in concert.

"The first song I ever learned all the words to was a Kid Rock song," Grondin said, referring to the singer's hit "Cowboy."
Kid Rock has been playing for military crowds, both in the United States and overseas, for many years.

"That's the least I can do," he said, and added that it is "even more special" to play in front of Soldiers on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The troops in the audience showed their appreciation for the musician's support, chanting his name before the concert and repeatedly reacting with shouts of, "U.S.A, U.S.A.," throughout the show.

"To be born free is a blessing," Kid Rock told the audience, "And to protect that freedom is another chain in that blessing."
Patriotic themes were present throughout the two-hour show - from the American flag that draped the back of the stage to the performance of "Warrior," a tribute song to members of the National Guard.

Scot Frazier, who now lives in Irmo, but is originally from Kid Rock's hometown Detroit, said he has seen the performer in concert many times and that he is not surprised by the singer's devotion to the troops.

"I think it just goes to show what kind of person he is," Frazier said.

The concert capped two days of events on Fort Jackson commemorating the 9/11 attacks nine years ago.

"Let's not forget why we're here," said Maj. Gen. James Milano, Fort Jackson's commanding general, to the audience before the concert. "Today is Patriot Day, and we're here to honor you Soldiers and you family members and all the civilians, both on Fort Jackson and off Fort Jackson, who support our Army."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16