Anita Baker gives sweet love at LCA in long-awaited Detroit homecoming

Not so long ago, odds seemed slim we’d ever see Anita Baker back on a Detroit stage.

The homegrown singer stopped touring in 2013, announced her retirement four years later, then staged a series of farewell dates before the pandemic hit. Until Friday night came along, Baker hadn’t played here in more than a decade.

So her visit to Little Caesars Arena, where she performed Friday for an enthralled, sellout audience hanging on every syllable, was like a bonus cherry-on-top in the singer’s celebrated career. And it helped make history right.

In a 90-minute show filled with her signature jazzy-R&B hits, Baker turned things intimate in the big arena while showing that her instantly identifiable voice remains potent. 

It was a classy affair with moments of magic, even if things got halting and clunky between songs — an odd note of uncertainty from an artist whose musical abilities are clearly intact.

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