The Red Hot Chili Peppers turned their weekend concert in Detroit into a tribute to a National Hockey League legend.
At the end of Friday's [June 1] show at Joe Louis Arena, drummer Chad Smith -- who was raised in suburban Detroit and sported a Detroit Red Wings jumpsuit as well as a team logo on his bass drum -- brought out Nicklas Lidstrom, a 20-year team veteran and its captain who had announced his retirement the previous day. Lidstrom, who attended the show with several of his teammates, received a building-shaking ovation that he told the crowd of 15,000 was "unbelievable."
"This tops it all," said the beaming Lidstrom, who visited with the band and spent time with Smith's mother Joan Smith after the show. "This is another great memory for me. It's hard to imagine; I came here 20 years ago... and 20 years later, getting this kind of ovation... I love you guys."
An acknowledged first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famer, Lidstrom was the NHL Player of the Decade for the 00s in both Sports Illustrated and the Sporting News. With the Red Wings he won four Stanley Cup championships and seven James Norris Memorial Trophies as the NHL's top defenseman, as well as a gold medals in the Winter Olympics and Hockey World Championships.
Smith, meanwhile, told the Detroit crowd that it was "a dream come true" to play in the building where he'd attended so many concerts -- starting with Rush at age eight -- and hockey games. Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, meanwhile, sported a Lidstrom jersey during the show's three-song encore.