Almost two weeks after their scheduled concert at the Tweeter Center was postponed, Pink and Lenny Kravitz kept their date with the Boston area — on a Monday night, of all things. Kravitz said he’d canceled the original gig "because I didn’t want to give you a bullshit show" (after singing in the rain in New York City the night before, he apparently lost his voice). And when he did arrive, he was in top shape. He flung his awkward, nasally voice upward and out, exhausting himself — but singing. He brandished a long-necked guitar, and he rocked meaner than in any of his studio work, with none of the old-school borrowings that enervate so many of his CDs.
He rocked at top speed, almost from start to finish, with hardly a time-out for a ballad or two (and these were plenty fast as well). From the joyously angry "I Don’t Believe What You Say" to the screaming "Baby, I’m Good," Kravitz flung all of himself into his music. Lifted by the savagely precise drumming of Cindy Blackman and ripped by the melodic riffs and thrash accents of guitarist Fred Ross, he wrenched his full house of fans way, way back to the kind of muscular rock that prevailed in the era before the Ramones and the British "punk" bands put it to rest. He jumped, he knelt, he lay down on the stage; he thrust himself up against the audience stage left and stage right, and he faced off with Ross in guitar-bending duels that recalled (uncannily so) early 1970s guitar duets by David Bowie and the late Mick Ronson. It was fascinating to watch the Afro-haired, mixed-race Kravitz match guitars with the long-haired, quintessentially skeletal Ross, point for point, in a genre that most fans think of as "white noise." Three cheers for Kravitz for doing the music that he wants to do, no matter what.
Kravitz was macho to the max; Pink, his opening act, was girly girl. She sang the cutely miffed "There You Go" (a song she called "probably the first time you heard of the pink-haired freak"), and she sang and danced the even cuter "Get the Party Started." But her show lacked focus (not to mention a band as great as Kravitz’s). As she veered from LeeAnn Rimes–ish country pop songs to (far too many) echoes of Jewel and two Janis Joplin classics, she showed both her vocal strength and her lack of stage savvy. Fronting a Lenny Kravitz concert is not an audition, and neither is it the time to explore this or that possibility of who you might be. Pink needs to toughen up, and quickly.