|The Boston Globe||"LENNOX LIFTS THE AUDIENCE WITH SOUL -- Annie Lennox has had a fascinating career. She has ranged all over the musical spectrum, with the one constant being her unmistakably beautiful voice. Her first band, the Tourists, was a retro-rock group with a psychedelic flavor that echoed the Jefferson Airplane. Then she and partner Dave Stewart shot into the future with the progressive, synth-pop of the hugely successful, MTV-embraced Eurythmics. And for the past decade, she has flirted with retro styles again exploring adult soul music. It has helped her sell 12 million copies of her last two albums and made her a global diva so in demand that dozens of fans braved last night's chilly temperatures to wait outside the Wilbur Theatre for an hour after the show in hopes of catching a glimpse or an autograph.
No wonder those fans were so bewitched, because Lennox put on a powerful performance that had the sold-out crowd of 1,200 fans jumping up frequently for standing ovations. She sang for an hour and 45 minutes, reprising many of her hits gloriously and dipping into a new album, 'Bare', which won't be out until June 10, but whose promise already seems evident. (It's her first album of all-new material since 'Diva' in 1992.) With her record company president, Clive Davis, sitting watchfully in the fifth row center, Lennox made it look easy. She still has her girlish figure at age 48 and was striking in a leather jacket, sunglasses, and high heels. She moved and sang with grace, often engaging in call-and-response harmonies with her three backup singers (part of an eight-piece backup ensemble) that raised the rafters with a soulful display that would have made Aretha Franklin proud.
Lennox sprinkled in many new songs such as the compelling 'Thousand Beautiful Things', the mid-tempo soul of 'Wonderful' (about romantic infatuation), and the disco-funk of 'Bitter Pill' (about when that infatuation disappears). And she also sat down at the piano (rare for her) to electrify the crowd with Eurythmics hit "Here Comes the Rain" and the ever-joyous and empowering 'Sisters are Doin' It for Themselves', as the backup singers strode over to her singing the verse "We've come out of the kitchen." A clever touch.
When Lennox first played the Paradise years ago as a solo act, she was manic and all over the place. But she has become a commanding pro who knows how to build a show's peak, as she did later last night with encores of 'Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)', the exhortatory 'I Need a Man', and the lovely, wind-down soul ballad, 'Why'. She reportedly has no plans to come back to Boston this summer, but let's hope she changes her mind." (S. Morse, Boston Globe)
|www.femalemusician.com||In what could be dubbed one of the greatest live shows to hit
Boston, Annie Lennox held an intoxicated crowd at the Wilbur Theatre
Wed. April 9. From her prompt arrival just after 8:00 to the end of
the second encore 90 minutes later, Lennox' soulful voice, punchy
dance moves and subtle stage theatrics made most there jump to their
feet with delight after every song. The set was sprinkled with her
solo hits, Eurhythmic greats and a few new songs from her forthcoming
album "Bare" that will be released in June.
With an eight-member band as her backdrop, Lennox appeared in a black
skull cap and leather jacket, black blouse and scarf and rose-tinted
glasses - a white woman version of a 70's soul sister outfit that
only the 48-year old diva could get away with. She opened the show
with "Money Can't Buy It" from 1992's solo debut "Diva."
The first in a long line of songs where she showcases her stellar hit-
making skills: a soft intro, pounding chorus, penetrating climax and
whisper finish. It's the stuff that radio hits are made of, and from
the sounds of it, her new album will be full of them.
Sitting in fifth row center (and right next to me!) was J Records
head Clive Davis, dancing, singing and leading the cheering. He knows
he's got something good in Lennox or at least he could tell by the
endless standing ovations - most of which he lead.
As she slowly took layers of clothing off, she revealed more of her
honesty. Not missing or note or a nuance, her voice came out strong
and clear from her lanky frame. In songs like "No More "I Love
You's"" and a moody version of the already blue "Cold" she emitted
sensuality, where the soul and dance infused "Little Bird"
and "Walking on Broken Glass" retained their remixed charm.
The louder the applause, the more Lennox soaked it up. "This is the
kind of adulation I enjoy," she told the crowd with her Scottish
accent. No stranger to irony, she continued, "It's good to be the
"Here Comes the Rain Again" was given the unique treatment of being
played by only Lennox at the piano. Then she shared center stage with
her three backup singers who took turns singing Aretha Franklin's
vocals during "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves." Sounding like a
girl group of the 60's, Lennox was no Diana Ross, she let the girls
have their moments in the spotlight, never upstaging them.
Running through crowd favorites "Who's That Girl," "You Have Placed a
Chill in My Heart" and "Would I lie To You" with a jam band charm.
Juxtaposed with new songs to showcase, she gave a little taste of
things to come with the intense "Bitter Pill,"
breathtaking "Wonderful" and potential hit "Pavement Cracks" that
drew from her tried and true songwriting talents.
Baring her platinum blonde locks, she came back for her first encore
with everyone singing along to "Sweet Dreams" and "I Need a Man." She
ended the second encore with a spectacular display of simple floating
light bulbs giving the entire stage a warm slow as she sang her
melancholy hit "Why." Lennox was able to see the smiling faces of all
who were there. As she left the stage, the movie theatre-style screen
that had displayed images throughout the night flashed a
message "Pray for peace."
The Wilbur was solicited for the intimate show; a small but perfect
spot to hold a powerful and personal concert with its three levels
and opera-style side balconies and the gold gilded banisters. They
got what they bargained for at the Wilbur: 1200 family, friends and
fans all cheering Lennox on, letting her know that she's still got
it. "Bare" is sure to do well.