2003-03-30 Annie Lennox - Bare - Symphony Hall - Atlanta - The USA
Artist : Annie Lennox
Date : 2003-03-30
Tour Name : Bare
Country : The USA
Town : Atlanta
Venue : Symphony Hall
Atlanta Journal Constitution
"ANNIE LENNOX RECONNECTS WITH FANS -- Sunday night at Symphony Hall, singer Annie Lennox proved that a true diva requires no opening act. After all, when you've kept folks waiting more than five years for new material, you don't need much more of a warm-up.
Lennox's concert provided a chance for her to reconnect with fans before the June 10 release of her new album 'Bare'. And if the constant standing ovations were any indication, her mission was accomplished. For nearly two hours, she ran through songs that represented the many stages of her more than 20-year career.
There were hits that she made as part of the duo Eurythmics ('Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves', 'Sweet Dreams', 'Who's That Girl'), several cuts from her two solo albums, and a couple of new tunes. Her vocals sounded as rich and robust as ever, merging hearty soulful phrasing with an icy reflective cool. And her stage presence was commanding and loose, evoking Mick Jagger's struts and Patti Labelle's ecstatic bird-like flutters. Some of the night's best moments found her reinterpreting older numbers to dramatic effect. The ballad 'Cold', from her 1992 Diva album, became a stark piano bar blues. And the Eurythmics's 'Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves' turned into a gospel throwdown.
Much of the new material was striking, as well. 'Honesty' was a spare ballad about falling in love too quickly. 'I was mad to succumb so easily', she sang, as strings of lights descended from the top of the stage. And 'Wonderful' had a sexy soul sway that belied the desperation of the lyrics. 'Don't want to need you/But it's where I'm at', she sang. This cut was a reminder of how Lennox's music -- while not quite edgy -- always takes chances. Its power comes from the contrast between the cerebral lyrics and the earthy R&B grounding of her music.
Unlike too many other popular pop vocalists, Lennox is never saccharine or precious. And at a time when heaps of praise are being dumped on sleep-inducing tykes like Norah Jones, Lennox shows that you can have a conventionally pretty voice and still sound daring." (C. Seymour, Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Atlanta Journal Constitution
"ANNIE LENNOX DAZZLES IN GUSMAN PERFORMANCE -- It must be diva-vs.-diva week across the U.S.A. On Tuesday night, Celine Dion debuted her big, budget-busting gamble of a show at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. On Wednesday night, and with just a little less fanfare, Annie Lennox premiered her new tour at the Gusman in downtown Miami, the first date of a highly anticipated 18-city tour.
No doubt the adoring, capacity crowd here believed they had their money on the right icon as they greeted the first shadowed glimpse of Lennox as if she were a hero returned from war. And Lennox -- who hasn't released an album since Medusa in 1995 -- didn't prove them wrong, turning in a controlled yet soulful set that showed why Lennox -- along with her silent partner, Dave Stewart -- galloped away from the new-wave pack and became stars in the '80s as The Eurythmics.
What has always been Lennox's appeal is her sense of opposites, her meshing of Euro-cool with American warmth, continental class with R&B sass. This was evident from the opening moment of the show when the audiece was greeted with a simple ''WELCOME'' on a large screen (no standard-issue, rock-and-roll war cry of 'how ya doin', Miami?'' from this woman) followed by Lennox launching into her gritty brand of pop/R&B. She maintains a certain distance, not speaking much at all until halfway through the set. Instead, she mostly let the songs speak for her and they spoke volumes. She and her excellent eight-piece band (including three backup singers) performed several new tracks from the yet-to-be released Bare, such as the haunting Honesty (during which a simple effect of a chain of lights hanging from the ceiling added a nice touch), the wistful 1000 Beautiful Things, and the R&B stomper, Wonderful.
But, as expected, she hopscotched over various parts of her career and it was the classics that this crowd -- who probably came of age to Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) -- wanted to hear. A kicking version of Walking on Broken Glass and a torrid take on Cold brought the audience to its feet. Yet the best moments occurred when Lennox sent the band away (and the screen above them said ''PAUSE''), she addressed the crowd (``What a beautiful theater!,'' she exclaiemd), and asked for help during the next segment as she was going to have to play piano and sing at the same time. This bit of demure humanity seemed a little at odds with her previous, hard-hitting persona but it was most welcome.
Then she launched into a beautiful version of The Eurythmics' Here Comes the Rain Again, probably sparking some fans to ask, ''Uh, who needs Dave Stewart?'' Her singers -- Carol Kenyon, Beverly Skeete and Claudia Fontaine -- joined her for a rousing take on Lennox's duet with the Queen of Soul, Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves. And probably some fans asked, ''Who needs Aretha Franklin?'' Well, maybe not, but it was a stirring version. More of the hits followed: a blissful Who's That Girl?, a wiry Sweet Dreams, and rocking renditions of Would I Lie to You? (during which she gave up all pretense of staying cool and laid on her back and kicked her feet), Missionary Man and I Need a Man. By the end, if Lennox had any opening night, back-on-the-road jitters, they weren't showing. Who would have thought that the singer who first came to our attention in a no-hit band called The Tourists would be commanding crowds more than 20 years later? After a burst of ecstastic applause, Lennox said, ''I wouldn't mind living in Miami.'' No doubt she'd find a warm welcome.
New York Times
Much has changed since singer Annie Lennox released her last album, Medusa, five years ago. Teen pop has come and gone like a case of adolescent acne. Hip-hop dominates the airwaves. And some B-list actress named Jennifer Lopez has transformed herself into a chirping chart-topping monster called J. Lo.
It's enough to make you wonder if there will be anyone at the stores when Lennox releases her new album, Bare, on June 10.
Then again, for more than two decades Lennox has fostered a remarkably durable connection with fans, first as lead singer of the Eurythmics in the 1980s, then as a solo act in the 1990s.
The key to Lennox's appeal is her rich vocals, which merge the falsetto swoops and rhythmic thrusts with icy European cool.
The contrast gives her an ironic air, as if she's singing with a pair of quotation marks.
Lennox premiered several songs from Bare last Sunday at Symphony Hall in Atlanta. Everything about the night felt as if you were sitting in on a well-executed rehearsal. There was no real set, only a backdrop that projected words and changed colours. And Lennox, an often outrageous dresser, was subdued in a black beret, black leather pants and a gold top, looking like a mildly flamboyant French revolutionary.
The new material frequently featured a contrast between the music and the lyrics. Wonderful had a sexy soul sway that belied the desperation of lines like "(I) don't want to need you/ But it's where I'm at". And Honesty was a spare ballad about feverishly falling in love. "I was mad to succumb so easily," she sang, as strings of lights descended from the top of the stage.
On the flamenco-hued 1000 Beautiful Things, Lennox sang about how hard it is "to see the glass as half full and not half empty." And the driving Pavement Cracks found her reflecting upon how "skies turn to the usual grey/ when you turn to face the day".
"They're about negative emotions," Lennox has said, describing the new songs. "The break-ups, the personal tragedies ... . I don't know many people beyond a certain age who haven't experienced what I'm singing about. They're symptomatic of what it is to be an adult human being in the world."
These melancholy numbers, which often merged heady lyrics with earthy R&B, were a reminder of how Lennox's sound - while not quite edgy - often confounds expectations. And at a time when praise is heaped on sleep-inducing tykes like Norah Jones, Lennox shows that you can have a pretty voice and still sound daring.
"She's unafraid to take chances," said an Atlanta record shop owner, Mark Jackson. "That's why her music is timeless."