Clarkston, MI

Pitbull gives metro Detroit everything on Can't Stop Us Now tour

Andrew Roth

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Pitbull performs in Clarkston, Mich. on Aug. 31, 2022.Andrew Roth

It may have been the last day of meteorological summer, but Miami rapper Pitbull brought the season’s biggest party to Clarkston on Wednesday.

Mr. 305 became Mr. 313 for a little more than an hour and a half Aug. 31 as he rolled out a litany of his greatest hits, setting the tone and pace for the night by opening with a string of four high-energy hits: “Don’t Stop the Party,” “Hey Baby (Drop It to the Floor),” “Hotel Room Service,” and “International Love.”

“It’s amazing to be back. This is where we started the I Feel Good tour, right here,” Pitbull told the audience. “So, everybody in Detroit and all of Michigan, I want to say thank you for the love, thank you for the support, and thank you for the opportunity. I promise you I will never let you down.”

Mr. Worldwide frequently employed a call and response between songs to keep the crowd fired up, such as when he introduced “Hotel Room Service” by calling out that we were at the “hotel, motel” and extending his microphone as the crowd screamed back “Holiday Inn.”

“There’s probably about 25,000 people here tonight,” Pitbull said, slightly overestimating Pine Knob’s capacity. “I want it to sound like there’s 10 million people here tonight.”

That was a challenge that the sold-out crowd, which skewed heavily towards young white women, passed with ease. They screamed, sang and danced along to nearly every hit Mr. Worldwide rolled out with a level of enthusiasm that often felt as if it exceeded even that of stadium shows at Comerica Park and Ford Field earlier in the year. (This could be due in part to different acoustics and the volume necessary for speakers to fill the larger venues overpowering the audiences.)

Pitbull occasionally took on the role of a motivational speaker (including the sometimes empty platitudes that come with it). There were times when he seemingly spoke a bit too long and the crowd started to dull, but that just made it even louder when they inevitably roared back every time he started his next hit.

The setlist was at times chaotic, featuring interludes of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer,” as well as a few brief intermissions during which DJ IAmChino kept the crowd fired up with a mix of songs ranging from “Whoomp! There It Is” to “Jump Around.”

Some of the transitions were seamless, like when James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” was used as a segue into Pitbull’s own latest hit, also titled “I Feel Good.”

Australian rapper Iggy Azalea opened for Pitbull, performing her top 40 hits like “Fancy” and “Black Widow.” While Azalea hasn’t had a hit of the same level since 2014, the crowd clapped along to “Black Widow” and screamed with joy when the opening notes of “Fancy” hit.

Both performers featured a team of well-choreographed backup dancers and talented supporting bands.

Of course, as with all parties, some things are better left off social media – a topic Mr. 305 ruminated on during his performance Wednesday.

“See, in the 80’s, you could slip, you could fall, you could lose, you could fail, you could, bottom line, f*** up, and nobody would take a picture of it, take video of it, and put it up on the internet and try to f*** up your whole life. It’s a good story, let’s talk about it later on in life, but that’s it. That’s where it ended,” Pitbull said.

“Especially to the youth, we live by these words called followers and likes, followers and likes, followers and likes. Well f--- followers, f--- likes, and f--- the mother---ers that made those things,” Pitbull said to deafening applause. “But I can tell you this much: be leaders, be unique, make a difference, take a stand, stand up, fight, struggle, sacrifice. That is how you make a difference, that is how you make change, and that is how you make an impact.”

Pitbull urged the crowd to “feel this moment” while they were experiencing it and have the “time of our lives.”

“I ain’t against technology. I say utilize technology, don’t let it use you. I say respect time and time will respect you. I say live life, don’t let life live you,” Pitbull said. “When you’re so connected, sometimes you’re disconnected. When you take so many pictures, sometimes you miss the big picture.”

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Andrew Roth is a reporter and photojournalist in Michigan covering politics, technology, culture and their intersection. Andrew has had bylines in news outlets like the Detroit News, Michigan Advance and Flint Beat. He was named one of the best political reporters in Michigan by the Washington Post and his work has been cited by outlets like Bloomberg, Endgadget, Daily Kos and others. You can follow him on Twitter at @RothTheReporter and @RothsReviews, and on Instagram at @RothTheReporter.

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