Making a one-off stop in the UK as part of the Strut Tour, Lenny Kravitz comes back to Wembley to perform to a crowd hungry to hear his hits. This night has attracted people from all over the UK, and a few from Europe as I got chatting to a few individuals before the concert started. The arena has played host to the legendary rocker a number of times before, tonight this was to be my first time seeing him live. Having been listening to his GREATEST HITS and latest album STRUT before heading to Wembley, I felt prepared for what was to come.
Arriving on stage roughly 40 minutes late, though understandable (I should note that we was told about a technical problem about 5-10 before he hit the stage, I don’t believe that is a Rock Star thing to do to apologise for being late). ‘Dirty White Boots’ begins tonight’s set, straight from the STRUT album, it gets the crowd grooving and brings Mr Kravitz to the stage. When the initial buzz is through, the cover of ‘American Woman’ is brought forward; the energy is positively sizzling as Lenny and his band pound out this classic for all to love. In need of another classic? Well, now it’s time for ‘It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over’, almost ironically near the beginning of the set-list. The crowd go from 10 to 12 as the screams are intense and not a single voice can’t be heard as everyone sings along with the star. ‘Strut’, the title track to the 2014 album is then next in the set, which gets people clapping along and prepares us for some funky dancing. During the course of the night, Kravitz removes his jacket, scarf (then puts it back on after) and the sunglasses (also make a reappearance later) which gets a cheer when the crowd can finally see his eyes. ‘Dancin’ Till Dawn’ keeps the classics coming and ‘Sister’ is a very heartfelt performance delivered in a way which could only be achieved by Lenny himself. Also, this is when we really start to get the feel of tonight’s musicians as they throw every ounce of their strength into these tracks where we get some songs lasting around 15-20 minutes with blisteringly good solo’s from Lenny Kravitz and his musicians. But wait, there’s more…
Talking about London, Lenny talks about his time in London in 1989 when he got to play small venues, ate at a nearby Malaysian restaurant and bought his weed from a gentleman from Trinidad. A few giggles had, Lenny talks about his love of London, but also shows his love for ‘New York City’. Another new song, this track is given a very long instrumental too which brings us past the hour mark of the show (Yes, 7 tracks in 63 minutes. These songs are long!). ‘Always On The Run’, ‘I Belong To You’ and ‘Let Love Rule’ are also given this treatment of being given a lot longer than the original tracks are known for, but would you really wanna stop Lenny Kravitz as he is using his magic over that guitar? Or when you get some great saxophone solos? No, you wouldn’t stop it. It is magical. So, we reach the end and it’s time to ‘Fly Away’. Not as extended as previous songs from tonight but still a great performance and everyone is given their chance to sing along to that famous chorus enough times. Encore time arrives and we have two more to hear. New track ‘The Chamber’ is an instant classic; everyone is chanting along and giving their last bits of energy. The show comes to a conclusion with ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ and Wembley is literally shaking as the crowd give their all for this anthem and cheering along to the instrumental closure to the night.
Rock is not dead, this night proves that fact. 40 Million Album sales and multiple awards. Lenny Kravitz has spent over half of his 50 year old life rocking and entertaining the world. This night at Wembley gave me the rare opportunity to see a real-life rock star that has touched millions with his music and continues to be a big part to the rock scene today. His energy on this night was huge and shows that a man of 50 can still dance, jump, run and party with those who are half his age. You hear stories about what some musicians get up to and you wonder how they survive. Well, sometimes a legacy is hard to kill and that is what a lot of rock stars make, a legacy. Lenny Kravitz may not be the best-selling rocker of all time, but Wembley proved that he is still one of the younger faces of the genre who has earned the status as an icon but spent a lot of time already in the industry to make him a go-to name. Pure rock and I could not get enough; let’s hope it isn’t long till Lenny Kravitz makes his return to these shores again.
Final Rating: 9.5/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove