30 May 2001
Show Day: Auburn Hills - The Palace
The Montreal audience was going to be a tough act to follow no matter where we went next (apart from South America, perhaps) but tonight's inevitable downward gear shift of energy at the gig still came as something of a headspin. Auburn Hills is somewhere near Detroit, a city which underwent something of an evacuation through the 80's and 90's, leaving downtown Detroit pretty much a ghost town. U2 shot the video for 'God's Angels' in a diner in central Detroit, but I was last there in 1996 with Oasis, playing the fabulous old Fox Theatre. It was sad to see such a jewel of a place stranded amid such run down desolation. Most off the population of this area has resettled in a hundred suburbs and commuter towns, scattered along freeways for miles in all directions, making it one of the most car-centric parts of the USA outside of L.A. Consequently, I imagine most of the audience had a long drive before and after the gig, which would go some way to explaining what happened.
Don't misunderstand me, it was still a very good show and all that, and I'm sure the people who came had a fabulous time but it all seemed a little, well, polite. Not to mention the fact that at the first encore break people started leaving, which was highly surreal. I appreciate the pressures of parking and babysitters are very real in the lives of those who have to deal with them, but it's really not very rock'n roll. After the show we did our own commute to the hotel in a place called 'Birmingham', so I can't wait to see it in daylight to see if it bears any resemblance to either of the other Birminghams I know.