I wasn’t really that excited going into the Lenny Kravitz show. I wanted to see him because I like some of his songs and I know he would put on a good show but he’s not one of my favorite artists – probably because his main genre (soul, funk, rock) is not my favorite (which of course is hard rock) and he’s a little too recycled. Well, his ego really bothers me too – you can just tell that he is the type of person that believes his own bs. But he has some great songs like “Are You Going to Go My Way?” and “Fly Away” (see, I like the rock ones).
SB, my constant concert buddy, and I ate at Dragonfish beforehand – very good choice – and settled in for the opening act, Nikka Costa. I actually have her first CD and I like it alright and I knew she would put on a really good show. She has a totally amazing voice and she reminded me of Janis in both her singing style and her aesthetic (wild 60s woman). She was funky, soulful, and a screamer. The only problem was that her freakin pants were falling down the whole time – I swear you could see the entire top half of her butt – and it was really distracting! It was hard to take her seriously and we kept worrying that when she started jumping up and down her pants would just fall the rest of the way down!
When Lenny finally took the stage he was very much about Lenny – walking around in his sparkly outfit and cape and sunglasses – he hadn’t even played a note and the crowd cheered at everything he did (walk to one side of the stage, take his cape off, take his glasses off for a second) like he’d just started their favorite song. He did finally play some music and it was admittedly pretty awesome. The band was quite impressive – he had the standard lead, bassist and his ever faithful drummer, Cindy Blackman, as well as three backup singers, a keyboardist, and three horn players. They were very tight and the show had a definite gospel feeling (the tour was called "Electric Church"). The songs were pretty long and sometimes they’d stop and start what sounded like another song and it was the song before it just broken down another way. I can usually tell those things but they tricked me twice! He played a lot of old stuff like “Let Love Tule”, “Always on the Run” and "Live" (which was especially spectacular) as well as newer stuff like “Again” and “American Woman”. He also played some songs off his last two albums but I don’t have them so I didn’t recognize them.
The sound was pretty good for the Paramount; his music really lends itself better to that kind of space (tall cement box) than hard rock does since it has less upper end (not a ton of distorted guitars) to echo around the top. His voice cut through the rest of the music quite nicely on most of the songs, except the last song “Are You Going to Go My Way?” which was appropriately cacophonous and cathartic and left us all spent. And of course he had to rip off his shirt to show us his hot bod and threw his ragged shirt into the crowd for them to tear into tiny pieces and devour. It was classic – he gave us what we came for.
It was a great show – better than I expected.