Note: Anita Baker barred media photographers from her Friday concert at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. In this file photo, she is pictured in October 2019 at the grand opening of Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

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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