As BB King said “When love comes to town I’m gonna jump that train” and so I made sure I was at the Mediolanum Forum to see ‘Mr Love’ himself, Lenny Kravitz. I saw lenny in Italy way back in 1991 after the release of his second album “Mama Said”, a great follow up to the monster of a record that is “Let Love Rule”, and it was inspiring to see someone aspiring to be a pure rock’n’roll artist. Since then he has seemingly collaborated with just about everyone, become part of the mainstream, and touched upon every musical genre in the process. What I really wanted to know was if the rock’n’roll fire still scorched his heart and soul.

A packed, elegant and beautiful Milan crowd filled up the Mediolanum Forum in good time. As the lights went down, an almighty cheer went out and all eyes were fixed on stage that had long time and most faithful band member Craig Ross on guitar, the splendid Gail Ann Dorsey on bass (perennial band member for David Bowie), George Laks on keyboards and big man, Franklin Vanderbilt on drums, in position, whilst Lenny soared above them, standing on a raised platform with his long rasta hair, a tan leather jacket, flared burgundy trousers and shades.

What followed was a master class in how to be a “Rock Star” basically. An amalgam of rock, pop, psychedelia, funk, reggae, soul and dance, all majestically executed by the five piece band and a wonderful three piece horn section, playing when necessary, with Lenny sensual yet spiritual, rough edged and delicate, constantly psyching up and pushing the band whilst reaching out to all areas of the crowd as if to drag them towards him. He made this 12,000 seater of a hall feel like a small one, such is his magnetism, which is a feat in itself if you know the Forum. He can comfortably play in that ball park that has Stevie Wonder and Prince as members because apart from the wonderful voice, guitar playing and attention to details , his message ultimately, is one of Peace and love. It may only be rock’n’roll but for 2hours and 30 minutes, the world is a better place for it, and you really get the impression he means it with his heartfelt spoken anecdotes on stage and with a spectacular foray into the crowd, going to all four corners of the hall to simply say thank you whilst the band played the encore “Let Love Rule”. Quite amazingly dangerous really in these times but effective in his intent to please the throng.

The band just didn’t put a foot wrong, bass melodic and pulsating, a heavy drumbeat pushing things along, Craig and Lenny swapping aggressive lead guitar breaks, an impressive horn section. You get so used to bands doing a set with every second accounted for, everything seemingly so scripted, but Kravitz swanned about as if he had all the time in the world, giving his musicians space to explore and delve into their art, adding softer sections to harder songs. His lyrics which strike me sometimes as twee, had much more weight, elegance and meaning such is his soulful singing combined with a forceful personality.

Oh, and it was loud too ever more a rarity these days which was marvellous!

Highlights for me at least, was the perfection of a pop song that is “Stillness of Heart”, an epic “It ain’t over till it’s over” complete with falsetto singing from LK and a super smooth slowed section, a psychedelic “Freedom Train”, a crowd pleasing “Low”, an insane version of “Mr Cab Driver” that took me back to my youth, the wild and free “Are You Gonna Go My Way” which sent the whole crowd ballistic and of course the beauty and resonance of “Let Love Rule” with its soaring chorus that begs to be sung at full voice.

Lenny Kravitz did say that Rock’n’Roll was dead way back in 1995 but if he ever lost his way, and honestly, it really is a big surprize for me to suggest this, as I had no expectations to see the spark I saw back in 1991 be ablaze, I can say that its back on track on the highway with Lenny at the wheel.


We Can Get It All Together
Fly Away
Dig In
Bring It On
American Woman (cover)
Get Up, Stand Up (cover)
Fields of Joy
Freedom Train
Who Really Are the Monsters?
Stillness of Heart
It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over
Can't Get You Off My Mind
I Belong to You
Mr. Cab Driver
Bank Robber Man
Where Are We Runnin'?
Are You Gonna Go My Way
Love Revolution


Here to Love
Let Love Rule

Photo credit: David Canevari