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Concert Reviews:
Big Sean hosts a Detroit "family" affair at The Fox

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, April 2, 2017

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DETROIT -- "I feel like it's all family here tonight," Big Sean said early during his concert Saturday night, April 1, at the Fox Theatre. "I feel like I'm at a barbecue in the backyard or something."

There's no question the 85-minute show, part of the West Bloomfield-based rapper's I Decided Tour, had a decidedly homey feel. Big Sean playing elsewhere is a certainly a big deal after two consecutive No. 1 albums, including this year's "I Decided," and three others in the Top 5. But when he comes home to Detroit it's a civic event -- enough so that Mayor Mike Duggan gave the MC the key to the city on Saturday afternoon, which Big Sean (ne Anderson) called "the highest honor I've ever received."

Top that with him celebrating his 29th birthday a week earlier (March 25) and the fact he's been "waiting my whole lift to come to the Fox Theatre," the smallest venue Big Sean has played since the release of his first album, "Finally Famous," in 2011, and the night was well set-up for a major party.

Previous Big Sean concerts have, of course, been marked by high-profile guests such as Kanye West, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Mike Posner and the entire "Detroit vs. Everybody" cast, including Eminem. But save for one song with opening act MadeinTYO, Saturday's show was all about Big Sean, and proved (as if there was any doubt) that he's more than capable of carrying things on his own, a confident MC with a natural stage presence and a wide enough variety of material to craft a rich sonic journey over the course of 27 songs.

On Saturday, backed by a DJ, keyboardist and drummer, Big Sean emerged dressed all in white -- losing his jacket and donning a black Detroit Tigers hat about 2/3 of the way through the show -- rapping in and in front of a tunnel of LED walls to a blend of "Voices In My Head"/"Stick To The Plan" that had both the balcony and the floor of the general admission orchestra pit bouncing up and down. The rest of the show mixed songs from his album and mixtapes -- including a generous seven tracks from "I Decided" -- with some of his features for other artists, primarily West ("Mercy," "Clique" and "Champions (Round and Round)") as well as Drake ("All Me") ad Chief Keef (a particularly muscular "I Don't Like").

Big Sean also celebrated the one-year anniversary (to the day) of his "TWENTY88" album with Jhene Aiko, with a rendition of the duo's "On The Way."

Throughout the night Big Sean was grateful and gracious, shouting out to his parents, who were in attendance and giving props to the influence of his mother and grandmother as well as to Detroit's comeback. "A lot of people lost faith in us, man, but we never lost faith in ourselves," he declared before "All Me."

Earlier in the show, Big Sean rapped that "I always wanted paradise." On Saturday he got it, and was happy to share it with the 5,000 "family" members who packed the Fox to see him.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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