May 3, 2019
In top form, singer and guitarist Lenny Kravitz was phenomenal last night at the VIP Arena, the third performance on the European leg of the Raise Vibration Tour. The whole show was a reminder of what live entertainment used to be all about -brilliant musicians playing their hearts out and carrying their audience along with them to a higher plane. This was certainly helped with the fact that he had an almost killer set that drew songs from various corners of his illustrious 30-year career.
With the opener "We Can Work It All Together" thousands in the attendance yelled at the top of their voices, waving either their hands or mobile phones were caught in a sort of collective delirium. This feeling of getting up close and personal was further bolstered as the concert went on and Kravitz sang songs such as "Dig In," "American Woman" (which he turned into a longer jam and the band threw bits of reggae while he was singing Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up"). "Let Love Rule" was turned into a gospel song with its catchy chorus and Kravitz who sported a '70s Miles Davis evil looks with his glasses, was all over the stage working out the crowds to join him singing the chorus. Somewhere in the midst of the song he disappeared from the stage and appeared on the other end of the hall, again stimulating the call and response from the crowds which he continued to do he walked towards the stage.
And it was joyful and triumphal. Pretty much this is how he behaved during his 3-day stay in Skopje between the concerts. Definitely, he is a man of the people who enjoys communicating with various people on the streets as he was seen doing. He walked freely on the streets and he greeted and talked to fans, signing autographs, taking selfies. In the midst of a dull political campaign that this country is, he was the positive force on the streets lightning up the grayness of everyday life.
The show was designed in a very simple way with a huge LED wall that corresponded with the songs but it didn't overpower the performance. The set list presented an interesting mosaic of who Kravitz is and it certainly showcased the variety of inspirations from different eras that have colored his songs. And the audience was equally receptive to the set list. He is known for varying his song selections night by night, and the setlist in Skopje was different from the concerts both in Austria and Slovenia. He certainly did a good job by mixing up the songs fans expect with deeper cuts but I do wish he had more songs from his last album Raise Vibration
into the set. The collective delirium was upped by introducing even more popular songs from his oeuvre such as "It Ain't Over Till It's Over," "Fields of Joy," "I Belong To You" "Can't Get You Off My Mind" "Low," and "Fly Away."
There was a lot of movement on the stage with a lot of eye contact especially during solos and the vocals. Also, when the guitars of Kravitz and Craig Ross locked into a flaming groove on certain songs the effect was utterly explosive. There was a sense of spontaneity that easily communicated with the audience who as a result sang and danced joyously throughout. The concert was brought to a climax with Kravitz's monster hit "Are You Gonna Go My Way" for which he took his V-shaped guitar. With the long drum intro, the immediately recognizable riff brought the house down and sported people playing air guitars and jumping.
And the great and charismatic showman and his fantastic band certainly delivered that evening. For the encore, he sang two songs "Stillness of Heart" and "Again," and he invited young fans on stage to join him to take photographs and sing with him. All in all, Kravitz's performance was a masterclass in playing and singing where an outstanding set of songs was performed with panache and emotion.
Photo Credit: Stefan Rajhl