ALLEN - There were more than a few moments during Lenny Kravitz's show Wednesday night when you could have sworn you'd walked into a Dave Matthews Band concert by mistake.
Solo after solo pushed his songs to the eight, nine, 10-minute mark and beyond. Way beyond. By the time Cindy Blackman ended her drawn-out drum solo in "Always on the Run," the tune felt longer than Lawrence of Arabia.
Kravitz has always borrowed from an assortment of '60s and '70s sources - from the Jim Morrison-issue leather pants to the Jimmy Page guitar fetish - and his show at the Allen Event Center also served as a reminder of his dedication to the long lost art of jamming.
Of course, like most improvisation, it often went awry. As a unit, his 10-piece band was impeccably tight, but as soloists, some of them ran out of fresh ideas in a hurry (except for sax players Harold Todd and Michael Sherman, who kept things short and funky).
When the interminable "Always on the Run" finally ended, Kravitz told fans "Thank you for your patience," although at that point, a lot of them had already slipped off on a beer-and-bathroom mission.
But if the show was aimless at times, at least there was no shortage of chutzpah. At this point in his 25-year career, Kravitz could have easily breezed through all his hits and left it at that. Instead, he bypassed obvious choices ("Rock And Roll is Dead, "Dig In," "Again") and poured energy into lesser-known gems like 1993's stormy "Sister" and 2008's slinky funk workout "Dancin' Til Dawn.
Playing on a stage without video screens, the singer and his band performed in front of simple wall of metal scaffolding, bathed in basic white mood lighting. Kravitz was all the visual pizzazz that was needed.
At 51, he was still in fine form - vocally and physically - as he jumped, strutted, performed a leather jacket striptease and dropped to his knees in front of longtime guitarist Craig Ross in a move straight out of the Ziggy Stardust playbook. When a trio of fans held up placards claiming it was their birthdays, Kravitz stopped the show and climbed into the crowd for a long meet-and-hug session with almost everyone in the first four rows.
In wake of his recent wardrobe malfunction onstage in Stockholm, he wisely refrained from doing any squats Wednesday night, lest he split his trousers once again. Kravitz may be an expert in 1960s fashion, but he's learned the hard way that they just don't make leather pants as sturdy as they used to.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas writer and critic. Email him a firstname.lastname@example.org