Review by Special Guest Correspondant Carla Howard (Carlita)
Photo Credit: Timothy Norris
Nothing makes me happier as a passionate music fan than when two artists I love separately decide to tour together. Two different energies, flows, artistic expressions for the price of one. Can’t beat that. Couldn’t have been more excited when I learned Lenny Kravitz and Raphael Saadiq were touring together. Saw both last year at one of our local late night shows so I knew rock, funk mixed with old-school soul was going to be a lethal combo.
I made an extra effort to get there early because I didn’t want to miss a minute of this show. Around 8:15 PM,
Raphael, who has arguably produced some of the best R&B songs ever created, opened the show wearing a white hoodie, leather jacket and these fly, shiny gold sneakers, giving off a laid back “Yeah I know I’m dope” look. Performing around 40 minutes of cuts off “Instant Vintage”, “The Way I See It” and “Stone Rollin”, I was surprised not to hear any of the Toni Tony Tone songs I’ve heard at earlier shows.
I happen to like his new stuff as much as his old stuff so this was ok with me. He did ask the crowd to get up and stop “sitting down like in a movie theatre” to which we did and participated in a few minutes of soulclapping. Doing my favs like “Dance Tonight” and “Be Here”, I wished the set were a bit longer but was sufficiently satisfied.
At 9:30 PM, the sexiest man to do rock/funk/soul (and yes I know there have been several in the past) graced the stage wearing his traditional leather pants and a fur-looking stole with a cross and Star of David- pretty much his sexy rocker uniform. Was instantly wowed by the amazing stage lighting design which had rows of lights in the shape of pyramids going in different random directions and a jagged mountain shaped screen center piece, periodically flashing sexy shots of Lenny every few seconds. Hearing “American Woman”, “It Ain’t Over”, Fly Away”, “Where Are We Runnin” and my personal favorite, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”, the crowd was on its feet from beginning to the end of the 90 minute set. Absolutely got a workout in, dancing along to the bad-ass riffs from Lenny and Craig Ross, the latter who belongs on a list of one of the greatest guitar players. Loved the personal family pics displayed on that mountain screen during “Black and White America”, as a fellow biracial person, that song has special meaning.
After the show was over, I immediately went to buy Lenny’s Greatest Hits album and the concert program, which features sexy shots of Lenny behind the scenes on tour. There’s a pic in there of he on a plane and am not sure how someone can be sexy reading a book but somehow he pulls that off. He ended his show, taking us back 22 years, with an extended version of “Let Love Rule” featuring a crowd sing along. Waiting for a friend outside afterwards, I could hear the audience leaving the venue talking animatedly about how good this show was. Have been blessed to have gone to some great shows so far in 2012 but this is the first legit Top 10 Carlita concert contender of the year. Next time Lenny and Raphael are ever in town once more, I’ll definitely be going your way again.
Come On Get It
Always on the Run
American Woman (The Guess Who cover)
It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over
Mr. Cab Driver
Black and White America
Fields of Joy
Stand By My Woman
Rock and Roll Is Dead
Rock Star City Life
Where Are we Runnin’?
Are You Gonna Go My Way
I Belong to You
Let Love Rule