Photos by Merideth C. & review by Dave G.
December is a month with many traditions. Detroit area residents can be found catching a performance of The Nutcracker at the Detroit Opera House, driving through the Wayne County Lightfest, or walking through Greenfield Village for Holiday Nights. One of my favorite Detroit traditions has been rocking music fans in December with some of the best bands in the world for the last 15 years. That tradition is The Night 89x Stole Christmas; this year featuring Our Lady Peace and Bush. It’s impossible to compare one year to another, but having been to several of these shows, I can say that this one stands out. I can’t imagine a disappointed person in the house.
After solid performances by openers Twin Atlantic, Smashing Satellites, and You Me at Six, co-headliner Our Lady Peace finally took the stage to uproarious cheering from fans. Opening with “Rabbits” from their latest album “Curve,” lead singer Raine Maida had the crowd singing along from the first line. Transitioning into “One Man Army,” Maida brought out his iconic megaphone to sing parts of the song. The connection with the crowd was an important part of the set. “Paper Moon” felt particularly personal with dimmed stage lights and only a spotlight on Maida with an acoustic guitar and lead guitarist Steve Mazur. Maida finished the song by promising to always come to Detroit. The set featured songs from nearly every album and touched on all of my personal favorites. “In Repair,” with the recorded Ray Kurzweil intro was poignantly dedicated to a friend of the band who is battling cancer. After that the band broke into a cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness.” Maida’s voice has the perfect tone for the song. The crowd was singing along with every word of every song and chanting “OLP! OLP!” in between. We got a special treat during “4am” when Maida left the stage and sang the entire song in the middle of the crowd. They ended their 14 song set with “Starseed,” leaving the fans begging for more.
Of course, there was no time for encores when Bush still hadn’t taken the stage. The crowd was already going wild when the giant “BUSH” banner came down at the back of the stage. When the band came out, the packed floor cheered with a deafening roar. Lead singer Gavin Rossdale is one of the best frontmen in the rock music. He has a way of engaging the crowd that few others can mimic. Leaning down and singing to people in the front row, playing guitar on his knees at the edge of the stage, and standing on speaker cabinets, Rossdale is full of contagious energy. The first big hit “Machine Head” had the crowd jumping up and down shouting out the lyrics. The band played an awesome set including “The Chemicals Between Us,” “Everything Zen,” “Greedy Fly,” “Little Things”, and “Glycerine.” Rossdale also professed his love for Detroit saying that they always love coming here. I’ve seen them 3 times now and I hope they keep coming to Detroit. Bush was one of my favorite bands in the 90’s and the show is always an amazing rush of nostalgia. They closed the night with a blistering rendition of “Come Down.” Rossdale repeats the line “I don’t want to come back down from this cloud” over and over and completely catches the atmosphere of the whole show. No one was ready to come down.
The Night 89x Stole Christmas is a mainstay in the Detroit rock scene. I expect them to continue this series for a long time and I believe they will continue to get better every year. They always put on an incredible show with phenomenal line-ups. 2014 was no exception and one of my favorites.
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- One Man Army
- Superman's Dead
- Paper Moon
- In Repair
- Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey Cover)
- Is Anybody Home
- Somewhere Out There
- Won't Turn Back