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There Goes Your Money: From Madonna to Beyoncé, the 2023 Detroit Concert Season Has a Gay Icon for Everyone

There's a relief fund for this too, right, Biden?

Sarah Bricker Hunt

There’s a distinctly powerful feminine energy emanating from Southeast Michigan these days as a slew of women artists have announced their upcoming tours. There’s a woman for everyone, from long-established gay icons like Janet Jackson and Madonna to rising queer artists like Betty Who and Hayley Kiyoko to stadium-shattering talents like Taylor Swift, Pink and Beyoncé. So, break out that wallet — it’s take-my-money season.

Betty Who

In support of her newest album “BIG!,” queer Australian pop singer and Interlochen-educated Betty Who will bring her Big Tour to Detroit March 18 when she plays Saint Andrew’s Hall. Expect a super queer experience thanks to an opening performance by “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Shea Couleé. Who recently talked about her relationship with music in a Pride Source interview. “There’s like a chord or kind of a zone or genre of music that will hit a place inside of me,” she said. “It makes me feel invincible, unstoppable. All of the things. Whatever the emotional reaction is to that music, that was the feeling I was chasing the whole time I made ‘BIG!’”



Saturday, March 18, 7 p.m., Saint Andrew’s Hall. Ticket link at bettywhomusic.com.

Hayley Kiyoko

Lesbian pop star Hayley Kiyoko will ride her rising star into Detroit May 3 when she brings her Panorama Tour to town. Panorama marks Kiyoko’s first major headlining tour in four years — the singer-songwriter opened for Panic! At the Disco in 2019 supporting her debut album “Expectations,” and then went into a Covid-induced hiatus. Kiyoko talked to Rolling Stone about coming out as a lesbian when she released that album. “I felt like I was catching up with my authentic self,” she told the publication. “I feel like it happens a lot with queer people. Once you come out, it’s like catching up with time. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can share who I love! I wanna tell this story! I wanna tell that story.’”

Wednesday, May 3, 6 p.m., Saint Andrew’s Hall. Ticket link at hayleykiyokoofficial.com/tour.

Janet Jackson 

It’s hard to believe Janet Jackson’s record-breaking “Control” album came out 37 years ago, in 1986, shortly followed by the “Rhythm Nation” era. It’s harder still to comprehend that the performer has been doing her thing for more than 50 years, since she was paraded onto a stage as a preschooler as part of the Jackson showbiz family. Jackson’s “Together Again” tour, featuring Ludacris, is sure to blend ’80s/’90s nostalgia with the timeless appeal that made Jackson a household name since before today’s younger generations were even born.

Wednesday, May 24, 8 p.m., Little Caesars Arena. Ticket link at janetjackson.com/tour.

Taylor Swift

If you have a ticket for one of Taylor Swift’s Detroit shows, you’re in for a queerly good time. And if you don’t have a ticket, well, we all know you aren’t getting one, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the lovefest when the Swifties take over Detroit June 9 and 10. While Swift herself has (at least, so far) remained famously straight over the course of her career, she’s also evolved into a vocal LGBTQ+ ally who is putting her money where her mouth is with this outing. Swift’s The Eras Tour will feature up-and-coming lesbian superstar girl in red (aka Marie Ulven Ringheim) and singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams.

Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10, 6:30 p.m., Ford Field. Very, very sold out. 

Tori Amos

The singer-songwriter and powerful pianist is set to take Detroiters on a dreamy, heartwrenching journey July 9 at the Meadow Brook Amphitheatre — just like she’s been doing since the age of 13, when she played her first gig at a gay bar (Mr. Henry’s in Washington, D.C.). Amos will turn 60 by the end of this summer’s Ocean to Ocean Tour, but she’s yet to steer away from her roots. She’s still shying away from the mainstream and thriving while releasing a steady stream of haunting, thought-provoking tracks that tell stories in a way no one else can.

Sunday, July 9, 7:30 p.m., Meadow Brook Amphitheatre. Ticket link at toriamos.com/tour.

Big Freedia

Big Freedia, the Grammy-winning artist also known as the ambassador of New Orleans bounce music, will hit the Motor City Casino Sound Board stage July 15 in a show sponsored by LGBT Detroit as part of the organization’s annual Hotter than July program. Big Freedia boasts collabs with heavy hitting music acts like Beyoncé, Lizzo and Drake and a solid and growing solo career that has seen her hosting "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" and appearing on shows like "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and "The Problem with Jon Stewart." Expect a genre-defying (and gender-defying) mix of rap, hip-hop and New Orleans vibes with a big dose of queer spirit.

Saturday, July 15, 8 p.m., Sound Board (Motor City Casino). Ticket link at bigfreedia.com/tour.

Beyoncé

Beyoncé didn’t break the internet (and Ticketmaster) like a certain other artist did when she announced her Renaissance World Tour last year, but there’s a similar freak-out energy among the BeyHive. And if Detroit is like most of the other cities on the list, the show will likely sell out, so act fast! Beyoncé delighted her queer fans last year when she dedicated the “Renaissance” album to her late, gay Uncle Johnny — hopefully, we’ll see plenty of representation on the tour, too. So far, the superstar has kept her opening act(s) quiet.

Wednesday, July 26, 7 p.m., Ford Field. Ticket link at tour.beyonce.com.

Madonna

Hating on the Material Girl might be all the rage these days, but Madonna’s queer fans respect the iconic, international pop star for the way she’s been proving her allyship for four decades (and for the way she’s been flipping off her naysayers for just as long). The Celebration Tour brings Madonna back home to Detroit Aug. 5 for a queer-influenced spectacle featuring special guest Bob the Drag Queen.

Saturday, Aug. 5, 8:30 p.m., Little Caesars Arena. Ticket link at madonna.com/tour.

Pink (with Brandi Carlile)

First of all, Brandi Carlile is opening for Pink. Second, a Pink show is a guaranteed good time. Most likely, she’s only going to perform on solid ground for a small percentage of the show. The rest of the time, she’s bound to be suspended overhead, leaping through fiery hoops or something, while somehow maintaining the high-energy rhythms that punctuate her extensive back catalog. Considering this tour is called Summer Carnival, there’s no telling where the adventure may lead.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 6:30 p.m., Comerica Park. Ticket link at pinkspage.com.



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