If you and a few thousand of your closest friends were screaming, dancing, singing and jumping for almost two and a half hours, then you were at the jam-packed Lenny Kravitz concert at The Theatre at Grand Prairie recently. The venue filled quickly with an eclectic audience as there was no opening act and when Kravitz came onstage, the party started. Standing on a risen platform when the lights came on, Lenny started hot with “We Can Get It All Together” from Raise Vibration, his latest album. The crowd stood and cheered for the four-time Grammy Award winner and never sat down again. He then launched into “Fly Away” and engaged the audience to sing along and become active participants in the show.
Kravitz was met with cheers as he moved to the front and immediately displayed a commanding stage presence. His guitar solo and jam with his band added immensely to “Dig In” to continue the ecstatic mood. He told his fans to sing along to “American Woman” as he moved around the stage with unlimited energy. The song slowed to a Jamaican beat and they segued into “Get Up, Stand Up” by the late Bob Marley. He went off stage for a moment and then returned, leading a three-man brass section that enhanced the music once more.
Kravitz then spoke to the crowd, thanking God first for another day of life and asking fans to put down their phones so they could live in the moment. Ironically, even more people pulled out their phones to record him asking that. Getting back to the music was the Beatles-esque “Fields Of Joy.” Lenny explored the entire stage and moved up close so he could interact with the fans. Everyone in the venue followed his lead as he put away his guitar, held onto the mic stand and rocked while singing “Freedom Train.” Guitarist Craig Ross took up the slack and laid down an outstanding riff. “We Really Are The Monsters?” had the 40 million album seller playing a snare drum out front. The musicians were tight on the song and led by Harold Todd on a tenor sax solo.
“Stillness Of The Heart” was a rock ballad with Ross on acoustic. It turned into a singalong and a guitar duel which thrilled the crowd. A slow intro of easy notes by keyboardist George Laks preceded “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” and then the band kicked it into gear for a huge round of applause during the trumpet outro by Cameron Johnson. The outro segued into a brass intro for “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” as the knowledgeable fans sang every word and roared for the sax solo. The crowd swayed for the dancing beat of “Low” from his eleventh studio album and everyone helped keep the rhythm by clapping on the right beat.
The laid-back beat of “I Belong To You” was led by the rhythm section of Franklin Vanderbilt on drums and Gail Ann Dorsey on bass. Baritone sax Michael Sherman got to shine before Kravitz introduced the tight band of musicians to a big hand. An old-style song from 1989 written in humor was “Mr. Cab Driver.” It featured a torrid guitar solo that mesmerized the crowd. The fast beat of “Bank Robber Man” featured police sirens and red and blue lights. The rock song featured Ross with a Chuck Berry strut across the stage and an offensive bass from Dorsey. A haunting beat engaged the crowd as Laks shined on “Where Are We Runnin’?” Fans cheered for the sax solo on the raised platform.
It led directly into Kravitz grabbing a Flying V guitar and everyone knew it was time for “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” The crowd exploded, danced and sang along to the hit as the dual guitars moved in unison around the stage before Dorsey jumped between them to pluck the bass. The requisite drum solo also meant it was almost the end of the show. The set finished with “Love Revolution” as the singer put down the guitar and briefly came into the crowd to thunderous applause. The ovation wouldn’t stop until they came back for an encore. “Here To Love” was a slow ballad with penetrating lyrics with just Kravitz and Laks as a choir came onto the platform for a touching moment.
Lenny then directed a drum solo and rocking keys before “Let Love Rule.” He pulled his friend Barry from the audience to play the congas while he was on cowbell before it turned into an all-out jam. The star then came into the audience for several minutes with fans trailing trying to get pictures and videos. The 20-minute finish ended with Kravitz on his knees to a raucous roar of applause. Catch him whenever he hits your city, as this is a show you do not want to miss. Thanks to The Theatre at Grand Prairie for their help and hospitality.
LIVE IMAGES: JOE GUZMAN/GUZPIX
LIVE WORDS: DAVID SIMERS