HOME SOUNDcheck GOhear GOview GOread GOplaces DOmore


  » Contact Us
  » Advertise With Us

  » Classifieds
  » Newspaper Ads

Concert Reviews:
A Wonder-ful Summer's Night At DTE

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2008

» See more SOUND CHECK

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- At Comerica Park in downtown Detroit Tuesday night (June 24), they celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1968 world champion Tigers.

Out at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, however, 10,000 fans celebrated another Motown institution -- and this one delivered a winner.

Stevie Wonder came home Tuesday for the second time in nine months, delivering another stunning installment of his A Wonder's Summer Night tour that's marked his return to the road in vintage form and spirit. Over the course of nearly two and a half hours, the 58-year-old Motown prodigy -- the label's most successful and arguably its greatest talent -- served up a smartly crafted and passionate performance that still managed to wind its way into full-scale party mode that had the crowd seriously, as the song says, "Overjoyed."

Taking the stage about 40 minutes after the advertised 7:30 p.m. start time, Wonder -- wearing an embroidered jacket and red T-shirt -- first wanted to chat, lamenting the premature end of Detroit's NBA season ("Next year, I'm gonna join the Pistons!"), praising presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and telling the crowd that it was "an honor to come back home." Then, noting that "Y'all came to hear some music, right?," he got behind his keyboards and started a long trip into Wonder-land.

A bit more polished than his somewhat hastily scheduled September concert at the Meadow Brook Music Festival, Wonder and his potent 13-piece band began Tuesday's outing with four songs from 1980's "Hotter Than July" album (it is A Wonder's SUMMER Night tour, after all), starting with the jazzy "As If You Read My Mind" before bringing the crowd to its feat with the chart-topping "Master Blaster (Jammin')" and then settling in with "All I Do" and "Knocks Me Off My Feet." He carefully paced the majority of the show, mixing hits such as "Higher Ground," "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" and "Higher Ground" with album tracks like "Visions" and "Golden Lady" -- which still had plenty in the highly partisan home town crowd singing along even if they were somewhat obscured by a bottom heavy bass mix (bothersome no matter how fine a bassist Detroit-born bandleader Nathan Watts is).

Wonder -- who took part in a Motown 50th anniversary photo shoot for Vanity Fair earlier in the day at the Motown Historical Museum -- did introduce a brand new song, a steady grooving pop track called "Keep Fooling Yourself, Baby Girl," and showcased his daughter, backup singer Aisha Morris, on "Love You Right Outta My Life." Then things got silly for a short time when a radio station contest winner was brought on stage to sing "Isn't She Lovely" and a dancer from a similar TV station promotion didn't seem to quite know what to do during either "Overjoyed" or an otherwise solid "Do I Do."

Perhaps sensing the odd turn the show had taken, Wonder started calling audibles as he conducted the band through a breathless extended medley of his very greatest hits, a barrage that included "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)," "Sir Duke," "I Wish," "For Once in My Life," "Part Time Lover" -- with separate male and female call-and-response parts for the crowd -- "I Was Made to Love Her," "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" and a lusty roll through "Superstition" that included a snippet of his 2005 hit "So What the Fuss." He let backup singer Keith John lead a rendition of his father Little Willie John's hit "Fever" before closing the evening with the meditative "As" and its message that "I'll be loving you always."

And by that point, the feeling from the enraptured DTE crowd was unconditionally mutual.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


GO & DO Michigan, an Entertainment Portal
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the written permission of the copyright holder.

© Copyright MediaNews Group, Inc. | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Arbitration