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Concert Reviews:
Kesha and Macklemore play a potent party at DTE

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2018

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- There was a lot of “Same Love” going on Wednesday night, July 18, courtesy of Kesha and Macklemore at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

The singer and rapper’s somewhat odd summer tour pairing proved to be a winner, a night filled with pro-social messages of tolerance and empowerment alongside plenty of good fun. Both delivered high-personality and high-octane, and complementary, shows marked by some genuinely special moments -- such as Kesha and Macklemore teaming up for a performance of their new single “Good Old Days” and Kesha bringing a lesbian couple on stage for a marriage proposal before a roaring crowd of about 13,000, then sending them backstage to “go make out and have the best time ever.”

It was truly a case of two acts equaling more than the sum of their parts, although during Macklemore’s set it was hard to imagine Kesha would be able to keep up. On a stage decked out with fake grass, palm trees, lawn chairs, a picnic table and grill, and a stuffed wolf, the rapper and his nine cohorts seemed willing to do anything to entertain “13,000 of my best friends;” He boasted that he “crushed six 10-ounces of Red Bull in a very short time and I plan on getting weird tonight with you people,” and lived up to it with plenty of spirited shenanigans -- including a hot dog-throwing contest with a fan in the left-center aisle of the pavilion, firing a water cannon into the crowd during “White Walls,” bringing two “golden ticket” fortunates on stage to watch him perform “Willy Wonka” from an air mattress and another two to bust some moves during “Dance Off.”

Changing jackets several times over the course of the 10-song, hour-long set, Macklemore delivered on the music end, too, mixing favorites from his Macklemore & Ryan Lewis catalog with songs from his 2017 solo album “Gemini.” The tolerance anthem “Same Love” was as powerful as ever, as was his a capella delivery of the autobiographical “Otherside.” “Thrift Shop” and “Downtown” kept the party in high gear, while “Can’t Hold Us” and “Glorious” were brassy anthems that threw some meaning into the mirthful mix.

Macklemore’s performance threw down a formidable gauntlet that Kesha and her six-piece band mostly answered -- although her own solid hour took place within an 85-minute show whose between-song patter ran towards the verbose at times. But amidst taut performances of pop-rock anthems such as “Woman,” “We R Who We R,” “Die Young,” “Blow” and Tik Tok” Kesha and company gave fans plenty to see as well as hear, with multiple costume changes -- none better than the regal white “Game of Thrones” outfit at the beginning, complete with headdress and cheek-revealing chaps -- and a large space capsule at the rear of the stage that spewed lights and smoke.

Kesha did have a few things to say as well during her 12-song performance, though she made only cursory mention of her recent legal issues with producer Dr. Luke, including accusations of sexual and business misconduct. She segued a rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” into a guitar-driven version of Pitbull’s 2013 hit “Timber” (on which Kesha guested), and the four songs from her delayed 2017 album “Rainbow” help up well next to her early career hits. And “Take It Off” was a roof-raiser, with Kesha and her backup singers firing confetti guns into the crowd.

There was plenty to like, and even love, during the course of the evening, and by the time Kesha’s set wrapped it was clear that she and Macklemore were indeed a not-so-odd couple.

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