Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 | 10:35 a.m.
Bob Ritchie is not like the perceived image of a rock ’n’ roll star:
*Instead of trashing a room, he simply asked for In ’n’ Out burgers to be delivered to his suite.
*Instead of stiffing the men’s room attendant, he tipped him with a crisp, new $100 bill.
*Instead of surrounding himself with mini-skirted, high-heeled groupies, he spent 20 minutes quietly talking with a paralyzed Iraq war soldier -- and even offered to help him and exchanged email addresses.
Onstage, Bob, aka Kid Rock, might well be a tear-away rebel, but offstage, Robert Ritchie is a renaissance man and a really good guy. Kid’s just returned from a tour of military bases in Turkey and Iraq. Not only did he perform for two weeks for free, but he also picked up the payroll for his band, crew and all the necessary equipment for the road. While he was in Las Vegas a week earlier, he even recorded free of charge all the USO PSAs for the next 12 months.
So Kid was certainly entitled to party last night to celebrate his 39th birthday in Las Vegas style at Lavo in the Palazzo. The rocker gathered friends and flew here by private jet early last night, with only the burger request upon landing, and the snacks were delivered to his penthouse Palazzo suite upon check-in. Only a rock star could pull that off!
After pre-partying, he made his way to the Lavo red carpet as people in the casino screaming “Happy Birthday” to him. He slowed, bashfully waved and said thank you to everybody en route. Once on the carpet, where our contributing photographer Scott Harrison was on duty, he posed with the Jim Beam stashed in his back pocket.
After he chatted with reporters and posed for pictures, he made his way to the private dining room, where he and his friends feasted on the Italian taste treats. A gold birthday cake emblazoned with an Old English-style “D” across the front to represent his hometown of Detroit was presented, and everyone had a bite before going upstairs to the boutique nightclub.
DJ Vice started up a rock set upon Kid’s arrival at his dance floor VIP table in front of the DJ booth. Vice led the club crowd in wishing the rocker a “Happy Birthday” as a giant cake -- a 2-foot-tall replica of a Jim Beam bottle! -- was delivered to his table. Kid grinned in awe and shock, and then got on the mic to thank everyone and admitted that he felt a little awkward. He thanked the crowd: “For everyone who came here because they know me and everyone who doesn’t, thank you all. God bless you, and God bless America.”
Then he sat back as Vice played an hourlong rock set he put together exclusively for the birthday boy. Our contributing photographer Al Powers was on duty inside the club for these photos earlier this morning.
The lovely ladies and PYTs tried to swarm him, but instead, Kid took time to really make someone’s day. A paralyzed Iraq war veteran had come early and waited in hopes to meet his icon, and it paid off. Kid invited him to his table, and he and the man spent 20 minutes deep in conversation and even exchanged email addresses. Kid was overheard saying how much he wants to help him.
My spywitness told me: “The nightclub party lasted until 3 a.m. before the rock superstar decided it was time to continue it back upstairs in his penthouse. He was gracious and generous to everybody he met in Lavo and before leaving even tipped the bathroom attendant $100.”
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.