Who can believe it’s been 20 years since Lenny Kravitz’s seminal debut, Let Love Rule, permeated airwaves and college campuses everywhere? The proof is in little Zoe Kravitz—the product of Lenny and then-wife Lisa Bonet’s dreadlocked flower child days—whose not so little anymore, turning 20 herself in December.
To celebrate the album’s anniversary, and two decades of a successful musical career, Lenny took to New York’s Fillmore for a five-night stand of intimate shows. “New York City, welcome to our home at the Fillmore,” he said to the audience on Wednesday night. And being that he’s lived in Paris for the past three years, it was obvious he was happy to be back home. “Thanks for having us home and welcoming us back to the city.”
With amps stacked to the rafters and an impressive eight-piece band that included Beck’s longtime guitarist Justin Meldal-Johnsen and a three-piece brass section, the sound was far bigger than usual at the small venue, making it all the more memorable.
Lenny showcased his diversity moving effortlessly from guitars to keyboards to piano. He’s still boyish looking at 45 and was dressed just as youthfully in jeans and a flannel accessorized with a scarf, knit beanie, necklaces and that signature nose ring.
The set was heavy on songs from Let Love Rule, along with other hits, including “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,” where Lenny led the oversold crowd in sing-alongs while they held up Blackberrys and flip-cameras capturing the rare close proximity. He danced and struck poses, sang while on all fours on a monitor, and even went into the crowd, surrounded by fans, while covering snippets of “Another Brick In the Wall” and “She’s A Dancing Machine.”
And though he’s been off the scene for a bit, Lenny’s genuine love of playing music was glaringly obvious as he jammed with his band, noodling on guitar until drenched with sweat. “Never forget it’s all about love,” Lenny said, getting philosophical on the crowd. “We all get wrapped up, but when you focus deep within your spirit the truth is there.”