On Friday night, people gathered to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers live in concert at Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings. They rocked out, jammed-out and head-banged the whole night. The band received a standing ovation before the show and performed a two song encore. But, despite their performance, it was Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom’s appearance that received the biggest standing ovation that night.
It was Thursday, the day before the concert, that Lidstrom, “The Perfect Human,” announced his retirement from an outstanding 20-year stint with the Red Wings and the City of Detroit. Lidstrom has had one of the best careers of any NHL player and he has done it for the team that resides in Hockeytown.
Lidstrom, 42, told the media Thursday that his drive and motivation are not where they need to be.
“Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride, rather than have the game walk away from me,” Lidstrom told a reporter in his retirement announcement.
He has had a spectacular career in Detroit with seven Norris trophies, four Stanley Cup Championships, one Playoff MVP and one Olympic Gold medal from the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.
Detroit native and drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chad Smith introduced the retired Red Wing defenseman, who had the Joe roaring, chants of “Let’s go Red Wings,” clapping, whistling and yelling filled the arena.
Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer sported a Lidstrom jersey for their encore performance. Smith, for the entire concert, wore a red jumpsuit, sported a white Red Wings cap and had a Red Wings sticker on his drum set. It was a great night to be a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, but it was a better night to be a Red Wings fan.
Lidstrom said, “This might top it all. Thank you.” He paused to allow the fans to get all of the cheering out of their system so he could speak as his arms were raised, soaking in all the good vibes.
“This is hard to imagine. You know I came here 20 years ago trying to make the team, trying to be one of the guys. Twenty years later I get this kind of ovation. This is unbelievable guys. I love you guys. I love you,” he said.
Lidstrom then waved to his fans and stepped away from the mic. He joined Smith toward the back of the stage for a last hug and walked off stage. Smith praised the defenseman one last time, raised both of his hands in jubilation and walked out of sight as well. It was the perfect way to end a Hall of Fame kind of night.