Concert: Lenny Kravitz in Phoenix
Calling the late Whitney Houston his "sister," rocker Lenny Kravitz paid tribute to the R&B star during his set Sunday (2/12) at Phoenix's Comerica Theatre.
"She was an amazing artist," Kravitz said as he sat on the edge of the stage with guitarist Craig Ross before performing the song "Push" from 2011's "Black and White America."
"Why does it take death to be appreciated? We're all human. We all struggle."
Kravitz's own public struggles have largely concerned racial identity, as documented in "Mr. Cab Driver" and the title track from his latest album, among other tracks. The two songs were played back to back early on Sunday and fit snugly within the show.
The homage to Houston occurred during the encore of Kravitz's two-hour, greatest hits-heavy set, which he described as an "incredible night." The audience felt just as strongly about the show, as ticketholders were on their feet long before Kravitz arrived on stage to "Come On Get It." Fans danced in the aisle starting with "American Woman" and women rushed the stage to get a peek at the singer.
From the start, Kravitz's raw sexuality played a prominent role in his show. The 47-year-old musician spread his legs and crouched down to the base of his mic stand, seductively rubbing it as he descended, before jumping back up during "Come On Get It." The man just oozes sex, with his funky dancing while playing the guitar and singing.
After "Come On Get It," the hits kept coming. "Always on the Run," "American Woman," "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" and "Mr. Cab Driver" were performed with stellar musicianship by his crack band, which included a three-piece horn section. The musicians were backed by a video screen shaped like a mountain with five peaks. P
erhaps the most poignant moment of the night was "Black and White America" when Kravitz played to a slideshow of his late parents, actress Roxie Roker ("The Jeffersons") and Sy Kravitz.
"That's my story, brother, and I'm sticking to it," he said.
The concert was the perfect balance of ballads and up-tempo numbers, new material and classics like "Fields of Joy."
"That concludes our motivational section of the evening," Kravitz acknowledged after "Stand." "Well, not really," he added as he wiped his face and then moved to the front row to brush the brow of a female fan with the towel. He continued onward with full-on rockers "Rock and Roll is Dead," "Rock Star City Life," "Where Are We Runnin'?" "Fly Away" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way?"
When he wasn't chatting with the audience, Kravitz and his band rolled from one track right into another with nary a break. Kravitz played the show of his life, clearly happy, as he stated, to be back in the United States.
"I want to sincerely thank you for giving us such a warm welcome back to not only Phoenix but the United States of America," Kravitz said.
He explained he had traveled and lived abroad for a couple years.
"But the prodigal son has returned and I'm back home," he said to massive cheering. "Let's see if we can make a regular thing of this."
"Come On Get It"
"Always on the Run"
"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"
"Let Love Rule"
16 - Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
19 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
22 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre
23 - Biloxi, MS - Beau Rivage Resort
25 - Miami, FL - The Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater
17, 18 - Melbourne, Australia - Sidney Myer Music Bowl
20 - Wollongong, Australia - Entertainment Centre
21 - Sydney, Australia - Entertainment Centre
24 - Brisbane, Australia - Riverstage
28 - Mount Claremont, Australia - WA Athletics Stadium
4, 6, 7 - Tokyo, Japan - Tokyo Dome
9 - Nagoya, Japan - Geibun
10 - Osaka, Japan - Grand Cube
1 - Lisbon, Portugal - Bela Vista Park
3 - Barcelona, Spain - Sala Apolo
5 - Toulon, France - Zenith Omega
8 - Wetzlar, Germany - Hessentag Festival Grounds
12 - Stockholm, Sweden - Grona Lund
13 - Goteborg, Sweden - Lisebergshallen
15 - Oslo, Norway - Frognerparken
16 - Bergen, Norway - Bergenhus Festning
20 - Ravensburg, Germany - Oberschwagenhalle
22 - Nancy-Maxeville, France - Zenith de Nancy
26 - Paris, France - Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy
28 - Cournon, France - Zenith D'Auvergne
30 - Madrid, Spain - Arganda Del Rey
9 - Orleans, France - Zenith
17 - Rome, Italy - Hippodromo Cappanelle