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Concert Reviews:
The Roots rock private show in Detroit
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

DETROIT -- The Roots had already done a full work day on Wednesday, March 9, taping that night's episode of NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

So it was no surprise the nine-piece group was in a loose mood when it skied into Detroit that evening for a special show at the Garden Theatre in Midtown.

The Roots' nearly 80-minute set was part of a partnership with cognac maker Martell and its Vanguard Experience events, which pair the band and brand together for special, invitation-only shows for Roots fans and Martell drinkers. The group previous played in St. Louis and Atlanta prior to Detroit, and frontman Black Thought told reporters before the performance that it was well worth the mad dash into town and then flying back to New York immediately after for Thursday's "Tonight Show" taping.

"This sort of event is usually more intimate," Black Thought (real name Tariq Trotter) said. "You get to connect with the audience on a different level." He also noted that, "There's a bit of nostalgia involved 'cause this size venue and this sort of performance is what we built our career on, so it's always fun."

The Roots played its set without pausing between songs, a mixtape style approach that included bits of Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie," the Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself" and even "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music" into the mix. The show finished with a lengthy version of "Can You Dig It?" featuring a long solo by guitarist Captain Kirk Douglas.

The Roots are also working on a remix version of the hit Broadway hip-hop musical "Hamilton."

More information about the Vanugard Experience events can be found at martell.com/en-us/.

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