So how many people out there know that 45 year-old New York-born Lenny Kravitz is the son of a woman who once starred in “The Jeffersons”? Probably not too many, including yours truly!
Kravitz hit the “No Borders Festival” in the northern town of Tarvisio on July 29th with his “Let Love Rule Tour”. He played to a packed house (the “house” was actually the town`s quaint main outdoor square) with about 4,000 fans (gosh, how strange too, most of the fans were women!), many also from neighbouring Austria (which is actually right next door to Tarvisio, about 90 kms north of Udine) and Slovenia.
As one of the official accredited photographers for this concert we only had two songs in which to be able to take our pics. Some artists are pretty laid-back about it while others, such as Madonna, have pretty rigid rules regarding official pics (in her case we were allowed 3 songs. Ditto for David Byrne). But for Kravitz we only had 2 songs and only to the right of the stage (his left) with some particular orders, such as only shots regarding the left side of his face (Joe Jackson was even worse as we could only take side shots and no frontal ones, according to his strange manager!). As with Bryne who for the first 3 songs had poor lighting, we noticed the same for Kravitz’s show: awful green lighting which went on and off like strobe lighting. Was it just a mere coincidence or did his staff do it on purpose? As the second song was up and we had to leave the area directly under the stage, Kravitz`s management used much better lighting. I think, and I don`t exactly know why (perhaps some bad run-ins with photographers around the world?), but some artists have to be real pricks with photographers, as in the case of Kravitz! And seeing that I was right under the stage, I had placed one of my cameras on one of the speakers. As soon as Kravitz hit the first chord with his guitar, my light pants and t-shirt literally started swaying back and forth because of the air movement which came out of the speaker. Ahh, my poor eardrums!!
The show? He started in (it was to have started around 9:30 pm but he didn`t hit the stage until about 9:50) with “Freedom Train” and then followed up with “Bring It On”, “It Ain`t Ove`Til It`s Over”, “I Belong To You”, “Believe”, “Dancing `Til Dawn”, “I`ll Be Waiting” and “Fly Away”.
But the song that I was instead waiting for, and which he obviously played, was “American Woman” which is taken from the song track of the movie “Austin Powers II: The Spy Who Loved Me”. This was especially nice to hear because as many may (probably) know, the original version of this rather anti-American song (it was actually banned from the American airwaves in the 1960s. Just imagine back then some of the lyrics: “American Woman, stay away from me….and your war machine…”) is from that great Canadian band, The Guess Who, who just happen to hail from my hometown, Winnipeg (the Guess Who were unquestionably Canada`s most famous band of the 1960-70s until B.T.O. arrived on the scene)! The concert ended with “Are You Gonna Go My Way”.
While perhaps not THE most popular musician on the planet, lest we forget that Kravitz also once played on Mick Jagger`s solo album, “Gid Gave Me Everything”. Indeed a wee bit of a prima donna (as one can see from the pics), but all-in-all, it wasn`t such a bad show considering he played for only about 90 minutes (and with only 2 measly songs for us photographers)! And for the first time in 197 concerts Kravitz at one point took his daughters digital camera (we had a young girl next to us taking pictures so we presume it was his daughter or relative) and began going down to the crowd and taking pictures as a memento of his last concert on this three-month tour. Lucky him as the lighting for HIS pics were certainly better than what we had!