Review: ‘Lenny Kravitz’

Lenny Kravitz never set out to change the world. His recordings generally reflect his good taste in music more than they show an artist striving to break new creative ground.

Lenny Kravitz never set out to change the world. His recordings generally reflect his good taste in music more than they show an artist striving to break new creative ground. As it turns out, lots of other young people share Kravitz’s affection for ’70s-inspired funk and guitar rock, and at a packed Greek Theatre he and his longtime band (with additional background vocalists) offered a lively, hit-filled program that was far more about fun than feeling.

After playing a couple tracks from his new Virgin Records album “5” early in the show (opener “Live,” one of many in the program that denounced negativity, and “Supersoulfighter,” which featured a relatively modern West Coast hip-hop feel), Kravitz — not wearing his hair in the usual dreads — locked into a rocking set featuring the best tunes from his previous four records.

“We’re here to celebrate life,” he told the happy (if chilly) audience, which responded by dancing and singing to such energetic numbers as “Tunnel Vision,” the always-riotous “Mr. Cab Driver,” and a show-stealing medley of “Freedom Train” and “Always on the Run.”

Ballads aren’t exactly the Beverly Hills High graduate’s forte, but he offered a few anyway, including a mid-show acoustic portion comprising “Can’t Get You off My Mind” and “Stand by My Woman.” Kravitz ended the regular set with a sing-along version of his first hit, 1989’s “Let Love Rule,” which found him wandering into the crowd, pressing the eager flesh.

Between songs Kravitz found time to lecture the film and TV execs in attendance on the amount of violence in Hollywood, and he brought out his 89-year-old grandfather, who reminded everyone that Kravitz’s late mom was actress Roxie Roker.

Lenny Kravitz

Greek Theatre; 6,129 seats; $27.50

Production

Presented by Nederlander. Reviewed Sept. 17, 1998.

Cast

Band: Kravitz, Craig Ross, Jack Daley, Cindy Blackman, George Laks, Michael Hunter, Harold Todd, Johnny Kemp, Nehemiah Hield.
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