Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Jason Broadhurst

It’s not everyday a legend like Lenny Kravitz appears at Manchester’s Apollo. After four years away from the UK the intimacy is electric as he stopped at the venue a quarter of the size of the gigs he has sold out over Europe earlier.

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Opening the night was American singer-songwriter Curtis Harding. With his blend of sweet northern soul and psychedelic sounds he had the crowd bopping from the beginning of his set. In a warm up of dates prior to coming back to the UK in the late fall on his own tour, the sexy tones and smooth vocals of tracks ‘On And On’, ‘Need My Baby’ and ‘Go As You Are’ highlighted the strengths of the former Cee Lo Green backing singer.

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Wiggling his hips around the stage Harding had warmed up the eager crowd as he interacted and joked around with the front barrier fans who chanted his name loudly. With a tight band and melodic riffs fans soul clapped along as he wowed them, having seen him earlier in the tour Curtis’s vocals get sharper as the tour goes on bringing the crowd to boil.

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Temperatures certainly had risen as the stage fell into darkness. Guys dressed in tight jeans and shades that want to be like him and the ladies seem to overheat when the name Lenny Kravitz is mentioned. As the band recieved cheers, the screams started as the American legend appeared perched on a raised beam at the back in darkness. As the jazz fusion intro finished the lights flashed brightly as Lenny blew the crowd away immediately with the recognisable guitar intro of ‘Fly Away’.

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“Hello Manchester” the idols silky tones purred into the microphone leaving mouths agasp and hearts beating faster. Dressed in tailored denim flares and fitted leather jacket the actor and singer strutted his way to the front of the stage.

Accompanied by a phenomical backing band that included George Lax and Gayle Ann Dorcey the suave showmanship oozed style as the lights glowed red to accompany ‘Dig In’ and ‘Bring It On’. The temperatures hit fever pitch as the chords opened for the heavy guitar sounds of ‘American Woman’ as Lenny gyrated against his guitar and microphone stand before an immense guitar shred with Craig Ross before slowing things down introducing the horn section to the stage, blending in the mellow beats of Bob Marley classic ‘Get Up Stand Up’ to a roaring applause.

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With Lenny’s smile lighting up the room he asked if he could play two of the tracks from new album ‘Raise Vibration’ treating the welcoming audience to ‘Low’ and ‘Enough’.

The room fell into darkness as screams raised from the crowd, Manchester reciprocated the love back for their idol, as humble as ever as the beginning bars of 1991 hit ‘It Aint Over Till It’s Over’ filled the Apollo. A wave of emotion fluttered through the fans, tears, smiles and voices singing in harmony in one of the nights most magical moments.

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With underwear flying onto the stage emphasising at 54 years old the rock legend still has it, he treated the audience to an array of hit after hit, as his musicianship hit further heights, the energy rocked into new levels.

Lenny’s endearing charm shone when introducing his fellow band members on stage, laughing at the enthuasiasm of barrier rocking Jay as he showed gratious appreciation for the fine musicianship that graced the stage, he showed him the microphone joking “Tell Me Whose Next?”.

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The sound from ‘Mama Says’ and ‘The Chamber’ rocked an electric beat accross a sea of fans before he brought a young fan onto the side of the stage for the encore before making his way through the crowd concluding poised on the front row of the balcony.

Cries for more left fans in ecstacy as Lenny returned to the rapture of a double set of ‘WTF’ and ‘Let Love Rule’ before parting the stage declaring “It feels like it’s 1991 again”. Leaving briefly and swapping guitars for a second encore of smash ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’ which left the crowd mesmerised at the gig they had just witnessed. With two more shows in Birmingham and London this week and new album ‘Raise Vibration’ due out in the summer we just hope he doesn’t leave it another four years before he sees us again.

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See the full photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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