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Concert Reviews:
Mike Posner comes home for intimate, emotional concert

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2019

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DETRIOT -- Mike Posner's lone concert of 2019 was, appropriately enough, in his home town.

Taking a break from his walk across America, the Southfield-raised Birmingham Groves High School grad told a sold-out crowd Wednesday night, May 29, at the City Theatre inside Hockeytown Cafe that the solo acoustic performance would be "the only actual show I'm going to do this year." Befitting the occasion, Posner dug deep throughout the 13-song (and one poem), 85-minute set of mostly introspective material and heartfelt tributes.

That tone was set even before he took the stage. The show was a fundraiser for the two young daughters of one of Posner's childhood friends, who passed away in February. They, and their mother, walked on stage with him on Wednesday and sat on a couch on stage as he performed, interacting with him on occasion. Posner also used the night to honor his late father, attorney M. Jon Posner, recalling how the as-yet unreleased "Could You Do the Same?" was inspired by the time they spent together before his dad's death in January of 2017.

And Posner dedicated his hit "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" to the late Avicii, who's name-checked in the tune.

The Grammy Award-nominated pop hitmaker also spoke to the crowd -- filled with an abundance of vociferous family and friends -- about the 2,942-mile walk that's taking him from New Jersey to California this year. As to why he's doing it, Posner -- sporting a white shirt and cream-colored pants, his hair pulled back and braided -- said that "the short answer is I want to, but there's a lot of smaller reasons underneath that." He added that after putting the endeavor off for five years, the recent deaths moved him "to remind myself that my life is NOW...and it is so easy to get so lost in my own head. I hope the walk can remind me and other people that this is IT."

And as he introduced a mid-show cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," Posner confessed to wondering "Why haven't I written a song as good yet?," which drove him to additional introspection. "The deeper the human you are, the deeper the music you make is," Posner explained. "I've got to go learn some things so I can maybe deeper music."

There was, in fact, a sober and reflective tone to most of the songs he performed, from the opening "Staring at the Fire" through "Clear the Room," "Stuck in the Middle," "Iris" and "Be As You Are" -- and none moreso than the encore pairing of his poem "Gratitude" and a soulful, show-stopping encore rendition of "Buried in Detroit." But there was plenty of levity throughout the set as Posner led spirited singalongs and call-and-responses during "Please Don't Go," "Cooler Than Me" and the show-closing "Move On." Early in the night he had everyone introduce themselves to people they didn't know in the crowd as well as give each other brief massages, and after another youth sitting on the stage told Posner it was his first concert he cracked, "They will all be worse than this..."

As he left the stage Posner asked the crowd to "pray for my physical strength, pray for my mental well being" as he resumes his cross-country journey. He also promised that "I'll be back sometime," and those at the City Theatre made it clear that time can't come too soon.

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