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Lenny Kravitz at KAABOO 2016, September 17th. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

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RECAPHow do you review Lenny Kravitz? He’s always going to be awesome. I mean, if you’re even remotely into his music, his live show is dependably rad. So the question then becomes: will he be more awesome or less awesome than the last time you saw him? On this particular evening, I’d say he clocked in at a 7 or an 8 on a scale of his own greatness.

As befits a festival performance, he dispensed with formalities and obscure b-sides to favor a set list of classic Lenny anthems. As he sang “Believe” the squad of middle aged women in front of me high-fived each other in celebration of Lenny keeping that ageless tuchus in tiptop shape. They were also pretty stoked that he’d grown his hair out a bit. One of them proceeded to give me her daughter’s phone number…that was interesting. Especially when her boyfriend looked at me and said “Dude, her daughter is cute. If I was single and dated girls 20 years younger than me, I’d totally go for it.” Um…thank bro. Thanks for making me barf in my mouth a little.

But even affable but unintentionally creeper bro guy couldn’t harsh the vibe of Lenny’s set. He’s too well groomed and too much of a seasoned pro to allow his performance to be anything but good fun. And those back up singers! Once, just once, I’d like to party with the Lenny Kravitz backup singers. Is there any trio of women collectively as talented and beautiful and stylish as the ladies who hold it down for Mr. Kravitz? I hope so. I hope there are women like this everywhere. But at this point in my life I can think of few that give them a run for their money.

The backing band is super tight too. On occasion the solos felt … interminable. Probably super cool for a crowd who by sunset was feeling the full effects of anything they had smoked or drank earlier in the day, but a little on the long side for my taste. Then again, Lenny, as fit as he may be, is no young pup. The solos probably give him a little time to chill and catch his breath so each set of lyrics sounds super fresh.

Throughout the set I’d secretly been crossing my fingers, hoping that Karl Denson would make a cameo. Karl had played saxophone on the “Let Love Rule” video in 1989, and he and his band The Tiny Universe had played KAABOO earlier in the day. Lenny must have been reading my mind because because right as I was contemplating how dope it would be for the two of them to reunite 27 years later for live rendition of what may still be Lenny’s most iconic song, the band started to play “Let Love Rule“. Would Karl emerge…???? No. But the sax player on staff was a super-pro jock whose skills were stellar if not profound.

In an otherwise beautiful but conventional set, “Let Love Rule” evolved into an old school psych rock jam session. The song ebbed and flowed with breaks and solos, tangents and digressions. At one point settling to a calm that threatened silence but then whipping the crowd into a frenzy as they crescendoed toward their parting note. With no shortage of showmanship, drama, and love, it all sort of….ruled.

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CLICK HERE to check out the rest of our coverage of KAABOO 2016