Spotlight on KEM’s ‘Mack & Third’ 2014: A Call To Service; an all-day charitable concert event that took place on Sunday 24, 2014. KEM is the man behind this local fundraising event which benefits Detroit’s homeless population.
KEM’s ‘Mack & Third’ 2014: A Call To Service
Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
1801 W. Jefferson
KEM's “Mack & Third” concert took place for the fourth year in a row in downtown Detroit. The annual event was sponsored by Detroit's own, singer, song writer, and producer KEM (Kim Owens) and MGM Grand.
It has be reported that more than 50,000 attended this year and although the general admittance fee was $5 many locals enjoyed the event outside of the concert grounds for free. They did this by setting up their own portable seating on the adjoining streets and sidewalks. Some had views of the performances projected on to a large screen and others just enjoyed the audio. There was noticeable police presences on the streets, but those in attendance supporting the event were peaceful and orderly.
This year was the first time the event took place at New Detroit Conservancy West Riverwalk Park and it was my first time attending. I found KEM’s ‘Mack & Third’ to be a wonderful outdoor musical experience with an amusement park feel to it. The location is a beautiful, large open field overlooking the waterfront, the RiverWalk and the MacArthur Bridge.
I was uncertain if cameras would be allowed past the security checkpoint so I left mine at home. Fortunately, I, like many others who attended the event, had my mobile phone. As I walked the grounds I was able to take some quick snapshots and those photos can be viewed by clicking on the featured slideshow located at the top of the article.
It turned out to be a beautiful day for this outdoor event but as the evening wore on it became quite chilly and many were not prepared; including myself. The rapid change in temperature after sundown made the last hours of the concert challenging to sit through.
With that said, those in attendance began to voice their impatience for Kem to put in his appearance around 8 pm. Kem finally took the stage about 45 minutes later and his performance was short but sweet. He sang a few old favorites, among which were, "Love Calls,”“I Can’t Stop Loving You,” and his new number one single from“Promise to Love;” He also accompanied a few of his song by playing the piano.
KEM , who is well spoken and articulate, gives God the glory for his overcoming addiction, homelessness and the accomplishments he has made in his life. Midway through his performance, he stated that he has never been ashamed to declare his faith in God.
I found both his music and words inspiring. I would like to quote some of what stands out in my memory;
"I am in the same spot I was in when I spent my last night homeless and sleeping outdoors on July 22, 1990. I'm in the same spot but I am in a different place."
He went on to indicate the exact spot where he found rest his last night on the streets.
"I was lying on an old discarded comforter near a bush right over there", and he points right in the direction to where my friend and I were sitting. "It was at that time," he said, "I realized how beautiful our city is."
When he pointed in the directions of where I sat it really brought home the low point of his life living on the streets. What are the chances of being in an open field and sitting in the location where Kem points out to have been the place where he decided to seek help for his addictions and turn his life around? I found that incredible and inspiring.
Kem went on to give encouragement to those in the crowd who might be going through their own personal struggles,
"Once you make that commitment to change and improve your life, mountains can be moved, but you had better bring a shovel because work will have to be done!"
I am certain those in attendance took his words to heart. One can't help but admire Kem for his music, his talent, his championing the city of Detroit and its people. I believe he has a book in him and I look forward to reading it.
I gave the event 5 stars for the following reasons; 1.because of the outstanding talent of all of the performers on stage, 2.because of the seemingly effortless organization of the event, 3. and because of the very large turnout of supporters for this charitable event.
On a final note I would like to say I was thrilled to see the special guest headliner, The O'Jays perform. They sang a few of their most famous hits which included "For the Love of Money", "Back Stabbers", " Last Night We Cried Together", and "Love Train".
When they took the stage it was after 10 pm and those who remained in attendance were able to withstand the lateness of the hour and the cold breeze off the waterfront. This legendary group did not disappointed in their performance and showmanship.
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