Annie Lennox performed at the State Theater in Minneapolis Thursday.
The British pop diva showed off her powerful pipes on solo and Eurythmics' hits to an ecstatic, sold-out crowd.
By Jon Bream, Star Tribune
Last update: October 18, 2007 – 11:49 PM
In the world of pop music, there are divas, prima donnas and princesses. And there's Annie Lennox.
She has a wondrous voice, a cascading fountain of soul, -- whispers, whoops and wails, Scottish trills and melismatic thrills. Unleashing her voice on intensely emotional words set either to a dance-club beat or a down-tempo ballad, she ranks as one of today's most extraordinary, if hard-to-classify, pop vocalists.
To say that Lennox's overdue Twin Cities solo headline debut on Thursday at the soldout State Theatre was highly anticipated would be an understatement. To say that the 2,150 fans probably enjoyed themselves more than the performance warranted is a statement that many in attendance would dispute. Truth be told, Lennox rushed her way through the first half of her 85-minute set and didn't really find her comfort zone until after she sat down for a three-song solo set at the piano.
But if you've waited all these years to see her headline -- the former Eurythmics singer has released four solo albums since 1992 but has toured only sparingly -- you could have been understandably amped. So what if Thursday's set wasn't as magical as her performance opening for Sting at Target Center in 2004.
That concert was more artful and Thursday's was more animated. The Sylvia Plath of song opened with lots of dramatic movements and dark numbers -- "No More I Love You's,"Walking on Broken Glass" and "Dark Road," among others. Lennox seemed more calculated than natural, hampered by a band that wasn't tight, crisp or passionate. Only when she played the dial-it-down diva of depression on "Pavement Cracks" with her echoey speaking-in-tongue blues did she measure up to her lofty reputation.
Giving the band a breather, Lennox, 52, recast three Eurythmics favorites as solo piano pieces. "Here Comes the Rain" and "A Thousand Beautiful Things" were too loud and too hurried, but "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" was terrific, understatedly soulful in a Ray Charles sort of way.
Thereafter Lennox found her groove on the warm and soulful "Cold," the gospel-tinged "There Must Be an Angel," and the rockin' "Ghost in My Machine."
Best of all was the encore: the HIV-in-South Africa, awareness anthem "Sing," during which Lennox sang with unbridled passion for the first time all night, and "Why," her big solo hit (from her debut CD "Diva") for which she sang every single note like it mattered. That's what becomes a diva -- and Lennox -- most.