Diana Ross Eminem and Jack White perform for thousands as former Detroit eyesore returns to life

Diana Ross Eminem and Jack White perform for thousands as former Detroit eyesore returns to life

Detroit witnessed a historic night as some of its most iconic musical talents, including Diana Ross, Eminem, and Jack White, performed in a grand celebration marking the revival of a once-dilapidated landmark. The event, “Live From Detroit: The Concert at Michigan Central,” took place on Thursday night, just before the public reopening of the 18-story Michigan Central Station. This building, which had long stood as a symbol of the city’s decline, is now a beacon of its resurgence.

The concert, lasting over 90 minutes, was a vibrant tribute to the city’s musical heritage and the transformation of the train station. The station, which had been abandoned for over three decades, was acquired by Ford Motor Co. six years ago. The automaker’s vision was to turn the decaying structure into a hub for autonomous vehicle technology.

Bill Ford, the executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., addressed the crowd, reflecting on the journey from the station’s derelict state to its current glory. “Six years ago, we gathered here, and we dreamt of what was possible. We dared to dream that this station, which had become a symbol of a broken city, could once again shine as the symbol of the Motor City,” he said. Diana Ross, the legendary Motown singer, kicked off the festivities with her hit “I’m Coming Out,” setting the tone for the night.

The sold-out event, which was also streamed live on Peacock, featured a star-studded lineup. Performances by Big Sean, the Clark Sisters, Common, Fantasia, Melissa Etheridge, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra captivated the audience. Notable presenters included Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders, current Lions stars Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown, and actors Taylor Lautner and Sophia Bush. The event drew a crowd of 20,000 people, with over 60,000 expected to tour the train station in the coming days.

Big Sean, a Detroit native, expressed his sentiments about the station’s transformation. “For most of my life, it was just a big eyesore,” he said. “It’s an oasis in the middle of the city. It’s a metaphor for us all: It’s our time right now.”

Eminem, who executive-produced the concert alongside his longtime manager Paul Rosenberg, was not initially slated to perform. However, he surprised the audience with a powerful closing set that included his new single “Houdini,” “Not Afraid,” and the fitting “Welcome 2 Detroit.” His performance was a highlight of the night, but Jack White’s set was equally memorable. White, who grew up near the station, announced that he and his band would play songs written just a few blocks away. The crowd erupted when he began playing “Seven Nation Army,” a song he recorded with The White Stripes. Holding his guitar high as pyrotechnics illuminated the station, White’s performance was electric.

The Michigan Central Station, once ravaged by scavengers and urban explorers, now stands as a cornerstone of a 30-acre mobility innovation district in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood. The project is expected to create thousands of tech-related jobs and has already attracted new restaurants, hotels, and other businesses to the area.

The reopening of the train station is a significant milestone in Detroit’s ongoing renaissance. A decade after emerging from bankruptcy, the city has stabilized its finances, curbed population decline, and made strides in addressing urban blight. In April, Detroit set an attendance record for the NFL draft, with over 775,000 fans flocking to downtown over three days.

Bill Ford summed up the sentiment of the night, saying, “I just love seeing everybody in our city happy.” The concert and the reopening of the Michigan Central Station symbolize a new chapter for Detroit, one filled with hope, innovation, and a renewed sense of pride.

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