Some worried that the change of location for award winning singer KEM’s annual Mack and Third Live event to might throw a few fans off, Detroiters were not deterred and a crowd of more than 50,000 supporters made their way to the riverfront’s Conservancy Park for music and merriment with one of Detroit’s favorite sons. The third annual Mack and Third Live concert, which has become a signature summertime event, featured music from KEM and the legendary O’Jays. The all-day concert, fundraiser and food drive to benefit the homeless community took place under near picture perfect conditions, with the Canada in background and throngs of excited music lovers enjoying food, arts and shopping along the Detroit River.
Just in time for the release of his fourth album Promise to Love, which was released on Monday, Aug. 25, only a day after the Mack and Third Alive all-day-concert on Sunday, Aug. 24, the beloved R&B star previewed album cuts from the new CD along with a set of fan favorites for tens of thousands enthusiastic fans. The new location has significant meaning for KEM, whose unprecedented rise from desolation as a homeless addict in Detroit, to world-wide recognition as one of the most accomplished contemporary artists around, is the stuff that movies and music legends are made of.
On July 23, 1990 KEM spent his final night of homelessness and addiction at the site just behind Detroit’s landmark U.S. Post Office on Fort St. and?? “What better place to celebrate our blessings and our commitment to provide services and assistance to the Detroit’s homeless citizens, than at the place where this once homeless man, turned the corner on his addiction and began a new chapter in his life,” said concert-goer Laura Anderson. Anderson and daughter Terina won premier tickets for designated seating and beverage cart access in a Michigan Chronicle giveaway drawing.
Following a succession of talent and inspired on-stage performances, singer L’Renee took the stage and wowed fans with an energetic performance of R&B classics. KEM continued rocking the crowd with hits like “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” and “Love Calls,” before introducing the new album’s title song “Promise to Love,” which held audience members spellbound and thrilled as they waited for the closing act – the O’Jays. The legendary trio’s flawless delivery of a succession of hits, from “Love Train” to “FamilyReunion,” buoyed the exuberant crowd as they made their way from Conservancy Park to their cars and the road home.
“That was one of the best concert experiences of my life,” said one exuberant fan, “I had forgotten just how much great music there is [in Detroit] and how many great places there are to hear it. I will never miss a Mack & Third Live party again.”