Appropriately announcing his entrance with the classic “Are You Experienced,” the second coming of Jimi Hendrix — Lenny Kravitz — was a retro ’60s vision in white bellbottoms, chunky platforms and a fur vest as he shimmied, danced and flung his dreadlocks to the reggae/soul/funk-inspired rock tunes of his three Virgin albums.
An unexpected highlight of the evening was Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash’s emergence onstage for “Always on the Run,” a song that allowed for guitar trade-offs and prolonged jamming.
Although some of the extended play among trumpeter Michael Hunter, guitarist/collaborator Craig Ross and (audience favorite) drummer Cindy Blackman was somewhat overindulgent, the smart sequencing of soulful numbers building into energetic funk-rock tunes kept the pace.
Culminating in the sonically mature final encore, radio/video hit “Are You Gonna Go My Way?,” Kravitz proved himself a sound performer, both vocally and musically.
Perhaps most pleasing was that the evening’s theme of universal love and peace prevailed throughout, most notably in such songs as “Fields of Joy,””Come On and Love Me” and “Is There Any Love in Your Heart.”
The audience-interactive “Let Love Rule,” in particular, was augmented by Kravitz’s message to the racially mixed audience, “… I love you and God loves you too. One kind, one people, one great big planet, everything, y’all … so what’s all the (expletive) confusion about? Keep the faith!” It’s an especially timely message in this divided city.