I have a soft spot for Detroit, I really do. I’ve been there a few times, and I’ve always found it to be a city down on its luck, but full of good people. You can tell by the architecture that it was once a grand place, and I hope that one day it finds a way to recover.
I had no hesitation about the location when the Buckingham McVie tour was announced and it appeared to be the only show I could go to, and I bought the best seats I could find as soon as they went on sale. They were 15th row, which is further back than I’d usually sit, but I just wanted to make sure I was able to get to at least one show. My choice of destination confused and concerned some people I know. “Be careful!” they said. “Good thing you’ll have a man with you!” they said.
Here’s my experience with Detroit, for the record: years ago, I got out of my friend’s car after a concert at around midnight in downtown Detroit, on a side street by the Greyhound terminal. I immediately tripped and fell, unloading half my purse and backpack somehow in the process all over the sidewalk. A homeless man came out of nowhere while I was attempting to haul myself up and collect my things.
He asked if I was alright, and if I needed help.
I said I was fine, just clumsy, and gathered up my stuff. He continued walking slowly by, watching to make sure I recovered, then wished me a good night and continued off into the darkness.
There but for the grace of God go I. Sure, it’s rough. But like I said, good people.
To be fair though, I don’t know my way around and like any big city really, there are sure to be areas you just don’t wanna go. So my plan was to drive down, stay just outside the city, and take taxis around. I also wanted to make sure we stayed close to Royal Oak, MI, because I needed to see Glenn Frey Drive.
Yep. Royal Oak is Glenn’s hometown, and after he passed, they renamed a street in his honour. And although we were going to see Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie from Fleetwood Mac, I wanted to make sure I completed my little pilgrimage for my beloved Eagle too.
We stayed at a lovely Courtyard Marriott in Troy, MI. And I only got lost on the way there once, about half a mile from the hotel! Hey, what can I say, I’m the better navigator and Mr Coyote is the better driver, apparently. But I quickly found my way again and it wasn’t really that big a deal.
The Courtyard had a courtyard! I find this endlessly amusing for some reason. Very pretty, we had a little balcony too. We weren’t there long though so we didn’t get to take advantage, unfortunately.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, we had a situation unfolding at home that distracted us a bit. So when we arrived, we took a little longer than I would’ve liked to get settled in and make our plans. It didn’t help matters that one of the more professional, larger-sounding taxi companies we were recommended had a 1-800 number that wouldn’t work for my Canadian cell phone. This was fine for calling the first initial taxis as the front desk would do this for us, but what about later on?
Eventually I decided to try to put my anxiety aside, trust we’d be able to get home later, and call the first cab to take us to Glenn Frey Drive. This is not an easy task–I had no address to visit, only a street. The dispatcher the poor front desk lady was talking to probably thought their prospective clients were a little bit
kooky crazy. But we managed to place the request, and the taxi was promised in about 15mins.
Forty minutes later, I was starting to really worry. Storm clouds were rolling in, it was getting close to 5:30pm, the show was at 7:30, and we still had to get dressed, eat dinner, and call another cab later which we were not going to be able to wait another 40 minutes for!
Just when we were starting to accept that my pilgrimage may not work out, we saw our cab coming around the corner. He pulled up, an older gentleman in a Toyota minivan, and we hopped in. We told him where we were going, and he googled the directions. I was still really nervous because realistically, would there be a place to park? Would we even be able to find a prominent street sign? This guy isn’t familiar, will we find it at all?
Oh yes we would. It quickly became clear that our cab driver was quite on board with rock’N’roll. He cranked up the radio as it pounded out AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Marilyn Manson.
“You guys okay with heavy metal?”
“Sure, why not!”
I put my iPhone GPS on too, to follow our progress in case we got lost. I could see on the screen we were approaching it, so I called out to the driver that it looked like it should be the next intersection.
Then we saw it.
“STOP STOP STOP RIGHT HERE!!!! Oh please right here it’s perfect!!!”
Our cab driver obliged, as you can see. I hopped out in my Glenn Frey concert t-shirt from 2006, and took my closeup, then jumped up and down and tried not to cry as Mr Coyote took my picture with the sign too. We hopped back in the taxi fairly quickly, as I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to be parked where we were, and turned back towards the hotel when our driver noticed something on his GPS.
So there you go, if you ever need an address to make your own pilgrimage, head to 407 Glenn Frey Drive!
For some reason, I didn’t realize that the large building at that intersection was not just any school. It was Dondero High School, Glenn’s alma mater. It’s called something else now, but the location tracker on the photo still registers it as Dondero, and when I saw that pop up above the picture of me under the sign, I cried.
Now though, it was time to switch mindsets to Lindsey Buckingham fandom. While in the cab I noticed that there were 3rd row seats suddenly available for that night’s show, but when I went to buy them they were no longer available online. We chatted with the cab driver and were telling him we needed to hurry, get ready, and get downtown FAST. And on top of that, was it possible to schedule him to pick us up after the show?
No problem, he replied. He could come get us before that, too. Bring us downtown, pick us back up, whatever we need.
And just like that, as he switched to a classic rock station that began to play some Fleetwood Mac, we hired our own personal rock’N’roll limo.
Back at the Courtyard, Mr Coyote bought sandwiches for dinner at the (super freaking handy) lobby restaurant while I ran as fast as I could back to the room to put makeup on. We ate as fast as we could, and got back in our cab exactly 45 minutes later as planned. We rocketed downtown, and got an impromptu history lesson on the once-fortunate city as we rode.
It was a little jarring to actually see the broken down homes, windowless office towers, and even a gutted factory so clearly from the freeway. As I said, I’d love to see Detroit rise from the ashes again someday.
We arrived at the Fox Theater in record time, arranged a meeting spot and time, and piled out, making a beeline for the box office. There were many people milling about and I was pretty sure that my 3rd row seats were gone.
But 4th row was available!
I think my credit card leapt from my wallet all on its own.
The Fox Theater was unexpectedly opulent and just beautiful. I took pictures of everything I could, but there was just too much to catch it all, even looking at it in person! We went in about halfway through the opening act, and I discovered I was seated right near my friends.
I’ve made so many amazing friends through all these tours over the years, and this particular group was one I hadn’t seen in close to 10 years. We chatted between sets and made plans to meet up again after the show for food, drinks, and much needed catching up.
The show was incredible, as always. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed seeing Lindsey play, and Christine is adorable and wonderful and it was amazing to see them in a more intimate, relaxed environment than a huge Fleetwood Mac concert.
Fourth row seats were a great investment, too!
All too quickly, the show was over, and my friends met up with Mr Coyote and I outside. We took more pictures outside the theatre, and across the street at Comerica Park, the baseball stadium, with the gigantic tiger statue. Our rock’N’roll taxi picked us all up and brought us to a place not far from my friends’ hotel, where we talked for ages, catching up and just generally having a blast. I promised them it won’t be another 10 years before I make it back to see them! And I intend to keep that promise.
Eventually our personal driver came back to pick us all up to end the evening. He drove my friends back to their downtown hotel first, then brought us ‘home’ to the Courtyard in Troy. Rocking all the way.
Reality eventually set back in, but I was blown away by the fact that we managed to do everything we set out to, despite our late and inauspicious start. My Glenn Frey mission was complete, I got to spend time with my friends, and thanks to some lucky seats I even got sung to a bit by Lindsey. Groupie adventure accomplished.
Kudos to Jeff at Michigan Green Cab. Rock on, Jeff, we certainly will never forget you!