Lenny Kravitz performing his Raise Vibration Tour at The Arena Birmingham on Wednesday 20th June 2018.

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

It has been nearly four years since American rock and funk icon Lenny Kravitz toured the UK, and this time the four times Grammy award winner was at the Birmingham Arena last night to promote his eleventh studio album, Raise Vibration.

Performing to an usually small audience, he arrived to the strains of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and commanded the stage with a loud crack of the guitar as he wound up the riff to opener Fly Away which saw him on the top of a high platform at the back of the stage between two large horns; the powerful, energy filled performance setting the tone for what was a tremendous evening.

Kravitz has always been his own man in the music world, having grown up in New York in the 60s listening to the likes of Duke Ellington before later being influenced by the riff rock of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. But he has resolutely held true to his unique blend of psychedelia, funk and soul and on this tour he was backed by a supremely talented band.

Following up with Dig In and Bring It On the 54 year old star both looked and sounded incredible. He hasn’t aged a day but most importantly he still sounded like no one else, maintaining a level of cool and vehemently keeping that bohemian spirit alive.

With the stage bathed in yellow light for his trademark cover of The Guess Who’s American Woman, a trio of brass players emerged to stretch the song before they teased with snippets of Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up.

New tracks Low and It’s Enough were smooth and sumptuous, the latter a protest song taking in environmental disasters and the abuse of political power and it seems that his four year hiatus writing at his beach front Bahamian home has revitalised Kravitz further as both songs were very well received.

The introduction of the trumpet and two saxophone players were a welcome addition to the show as was the perfection of Kravitz’s long term guitarist, Craig Ross who was on hand for his incendiary guitar solos. Franklin Vanderbilt was outstanding on drums, and David Bowie’s former bassist Gail Ann Dorsey gave plenty of slap to Always On The Run.

Kravitz treated fans to a wonderful, upbeat rendition of a Blondie styled The Chamber, and a gorgeous performance of Again to close his main set. For the encore he delivered I’ll Be Waiting and with his flying V Gibson strapped to his chest, Kravitz remained the ultimate symbol of rebellion and frantic energy as he stretched out Let Love Rule as the front man snaked through the crowd hugging them before returning to the stage to thank them for their love.

The scorching riff of Are You Gonna Go My Way proved to be the perfect finish as Kravitz gave his fans everything that they could have wished for, playing hit after hit and barely coming up for air throughout the two hour concert.

Proving that It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over, Kravitz has certainly not lost an ounce of his outstanding talent. For all the posturing he certainly still knows how to catch a groove.