Aretha Franklin performed a free concert for Detroit Music Weekend this past Saturday for an eager crowd that did not mind waiting hours to see her under an 88-degree sun. Ms. Franklin arrived 41 minutes after her scheduled performance time of 6 PM as the audience patiently waited for what might have been her last concert. Jesse Jackson helped her to the stage as other members of her entourage made sure that her white gown stayed clean and in place as she walked up the stairs. She began her set with “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me” her 1986 hit duet with the late George Michael. After launching into “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” from her classic Muscle Shoals era she gave a true to the recording performance of the Curtis Mayfield-penned “Hooked On Your Love” from the Sparkle soundtrack.
At one point during the evening, Ms. Franklin took the time to acknowledge the many Detroit notables that were present including Mary Wilson of The Supremes, Freda Payne, boxing legend Tommy Hearns, singer Freda Payne, Vickie Winans and U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.
Ms. Franklin was joined later by The Williams Brothers for a pure gospel interlude and the show was stopped for a short time to allow Mayor Duggan to present Franklin with the key to the city. After graciously receiving the honor Franklin resumed the show with a quick run of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” She concluded her almost two-hour show with a grittier version of “Freeway Of Love.” As she exited the stage, she asked the crowd to keep her in their prayers.
Mayor Hawthorne and Jake One took the stage as Tuxedo in the yellow tent soon after the clearing of the main stage. Their 40-minute set included dauntless performances of “So Good,” “2nd Time Around” and “Fux With The Tux.” The crowd knew the words to the songs and created an almost karaoke-like atmosphere. Jake One explained to the crowd how they were inspired by classic west coast hip-hop sounds from Mac Dre to Dr. Dre when they were making their Tuxedo II album. Vocalist Gavin Turek, who duetted with Hawthorne on “Shine” also paid tribute to Detroit with a solo performance of Alicia Myers’ “I Want To Thank You.” Their short but sweet set left the audience satisfied but clearly ready for their next return to Detroit.