DETROIT -- Melissa Etheridge joined the ranks of those paying tribute to the late Michael Jackson on Friday (June 26), appropriately enough during the Motown stop of her Live & Alone solo tour.
Before playing a truncated version of the Jackson 5's Motown hit "I'll Be There" at the Sound Board in the Motor City Casino and Hotel, Etheridge sat at the piano and told the small but vociferous crowd that "despite all the crazy stuff Michael Jackson did, he was still like the soundtrack for our chilidhood...We sacrificed an amazing individual to that vacant dream called fame...The guy left us with an amazing amount of music and entertainment. He will be missed...I hope he's happy."
An image of Jackson's famous jeweled glove appeared on the screen behind her at the end of the song, and Etheridge followed "I'll Be There" with a rendition of fellow Motowner Marvin Gaye's sultry "Let's Get it On."
During the rest of the one-hour and 45-minute show, Etheridge, who was in powerful voice throughout, also accompanied herself on acoustic 12-string and electric guitars as she mixed her hits -- "Come to My Window," "I Want to Come Over," "Bring Me Some Water," a particularly bluesy "I'm the Only One" and her Academy Award-winning "I Need to Wake Up" from the Al Gore-narrated documentary "In Inconvenient Truth" -- with other covers, including Joan Armatrading's "The Weakness in Me" and a high-octane encore of Big Brother & the Holding Company's "Piece of My Heart."
Etheridge also promised her fans that she'd return next summer -- most likely with a full band.