From page 66 of Classic Rock Magazine March 1999
Brixton Academy, London, 7.12.98
Set-length: One hour, 45 minutes. Tickets: £15 Away'flt Ain't Over Till It's Over/ 'Always On The Run'aunnel Vision'/ 'Can't Get You Off My Mind'/'Stand By My Woman11 Belong To YouTLet Love Rule'/ 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' A decade on from his breakthrough 'Let Love Rule' album, Lenny Kravitz has gone from being the nouveau-soul boy who liked to rock to the full-on retro-rock superstar.
Musically, he'll tell you, nothing's changed just the audience's perception of him. No longer the MTV-friendly darling of such certified chart 'smashes' as 'It Ain't Over Till It's Over these days the 34-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist relies on a mostly white rock crowd for his audience. And so it proved at the Brixton Academy. His latest world tour promoting the excellent new 'S'album kicked off in America last October, and despite the last album ('Circus') doing only respectably well (le, no hit singles) tonight's Academy show is sold out.
His transition from café-crème crooner to ghostof-Hendrix rock god has been almost seamless. Indeed, the man who created such lush pop classics as 'Justify My Love' for Madonna was nowhere to be seen tonight.
Dressed down in denim shirt and trousers (flared, of course), and his 'Jesus Died For You' T-shirt, together with his newly shorn locks, this was a man happy to simply rock out to the most ardent of audiences.
Four tiers of lights backlit the seven-piece band with the invincible Cindy Blockman resplendent on the drums, and, in addition to the regular band, Michael Hunter and Harold Todd alternating between horns and percussion.
"We are here to celebrate life," Lenny says after 'Always On the Run: before launching into 'It Ain't Overfill It's Over' as the crowd goes dutifully wild.
Unfortunately, though, the sound lacks focus and clarity, leaving much to be desired. But then 'Tunnel Vision' becomes a 12-minute instrumental excursion as Kravitz exhorts each member of the band to push themselves and us that bit harder, and things swiftly click into gear, keeping the audience dancing until the slower 'Can't Get You Off My Mind' and 'Stand By My Woman'take it down a pace again, showcasing the more acoustic side of the Kravitz oeuvre.
After the ethereal 'I Belong To You; from the new album, he dives offstage and begins walking through the delirious crowd for'Let Love Rule: Encores are served up just as you like it, with the inevitable 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' closing the show triumphantly to a deafening roar.
If this is retro, then it's back to the future for me. (7) Simon McCaffrey