25 years ago today: Lenny Kravitz shows the Cult how it's done at the Coliseum

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      The big buzz around the Georgia Straight office these days is the paper's upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations, but I wasn't here when it launched in '67, so I'll leave those summer-of-love reflections to guys like perennial Straight mainman Dan McLeod. 

      What I can tell you is that, 25 years ago today--on January 11, 1992--I saw a pretty rockin' show at the Pacific Coliseum. That's when, still a year away from hitting it big with Are You Gonna Go My Way, opener Lenny Kravitz blew multiplatinum headliners the Cult off the stage.

      The dude was definitely on the way up.

      Here's my review:


      When I saw local singing sensation Sarah McLachlan pick up her coat and leave the press box after Lenny Kravitz’s opening slot for the Cult, I thought: “Geez, she could have stuck around for a couple of rockin’ Cult tunes.”

      But, as it turned out, the divine Ms. M. had the right idea: she’d already seen the best, so why worry ’bout the rest? Kravitz was King of the Coliseum on Saturday (January 11), that’s for sure.

      Looking ’60s cool with a multicoloured vest and furry boots with dangling fluffy balls, the dreadlocked maestro of funky, soulful pop clearly beat Ian Astbury to the latter’s self-appointed task of turning the concert into a spiritual event. “I don’t want to start preaching,” announced Kravitz, “but many problems in this world have to be dealt with, and I believe we’re the last generation to save this place.”

      Then he beseeched the crowd to hold hands for “Let Love Rule” before casually vaulting over the stage-front barricade and greeting the enthusiastic horde in the flesh, with nary a thought for his own safety. After that brave stunt, he received a tremendous ovation—one normally reserved for headlining acts—and returned to the stage for a compelling version of “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over”.

      In comparison to Kravitz’s electrifying show, the Cult’s twice-as-long performance was only half as good. The sound was great for the Coliseum—with the best drum mix since last year’s AC/DC shows—and was accompanied by a classy, not-too-flashy light show, but several tunes seemed to go on forever, and others (like “American Horse”) were boring to begin with.

      Still, Cult faves like “She Sells Sanctuary”, “Love Removal Machine”, and “Fire Woman” (dedicated to Vancouver studio pros Bob Rock and Mike Fraser) left most of the near sell-out crowd satiated.