Finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” Ann Arbor native and University of Michigan alum Laith Al-Saadi returns to his home-town for one rockin’ concert at the Michigan Theater.
Armed with a degree from the University of Michigan in jazz guitar and bass, and an incredible voice and vocal growl, Al-Saadi is a powerhouse of a vocalist and a certified master of the guitar.
“We’re gonna have a blast over the evening,” Al-Saadi said in an interview with The Daily. The concert will feature special guest performers made up of Al-Saadi’s long-time friends: Ann Arbor blues favorite Al Hill and the funky METERS’s Brian Stoltz. On top of that, the audience should be ready for “tributes and surprises.”
Throughout his career, Al-Saadi has shared the stage with many big names like Taj Mahal, Luther Alison, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Gregg Allman and B.B. King. In addition to that, major retailer and influential voice in the guitar community, Guitar Center, named Al-Saadi “one of the top four blues guitarists in the United States.”
More than just being an iconic Ann Arbor venue, the Michigan Theater holds sentimental value for Al-Saadi.
“I grew up in Ann Arbor, and my first professional theatre gigs when I was a kid were there.” He performed in many shows at the theater and even “graduated from high school on (its) stage.” When Al-Saadi returned from “The Voice,” the Michigan Theater was the venue for his homecoming concert. This will be Al-Saadi’s second time performing at the Michigan Theater since returning last year.
Before his time on the show, Al-Saadi performed 300 nights annually in Ann Arbor over the course of 20 years, prompting The Ann Arbor News to name him “the hardest working man in Ann Arbor showbusiness.” It was his constant dedication and talent that captured the attention of “The Voice” producers, who gave him a VIP audition for the show.
Al-Saadi started off strong with his blind audition, performing “The Letter” by Joe Cocker. As of October 31st, 2017 the video has been viewed almost 6 million times on YouTube.
He’s proud to have stayed true to his style and character while on the show, performing classics like “With a Little Help from my Friends,” “The Thrill is Gone” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
Now that he’s no longer on the show, this means his fanbase expects to hear the songs that he loves to perform.
“I feel like I’m able to be liberated as an artist and put together the musical context of what I want to present, and play the kind of music that I want to,” Al-Saadi said.
According to Al-Saadi, his time on “The Voice,” “couldn’t have turned out better,” because it helped him gain national and international exposure by making it all the way to the final round, while avoiding being tied to a contract that would’ve come from placing first. This gave him the freedom to perform where and what he wanted.
“It enabled me to do my thing,” he said.
Now, Al-Saadi is excited to be returning to the Michigan Theater to celebrate his 40th Birthday Bash where he and the audience are “gonna jam out all night.”