LA Live Show Review

Annie Lennox – Live at the Wilshire Theatre
Thursday, October 11 – Los Angeles
www.247gay.com

A flash of her wide, expressive eyes and a single note of her pristine alto and Annie Lennox had already captivated her audience at Los Angeles’ Wilshire Theater . Although it’s safe to say that Lennox, who’s artistry has been unwavering for 25-plus years, was preaching to her choir…

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On tour with her triumphant release Songs of Mass Destruction, Lennox, flawless at age 52, played to all of her crowds: Those who’ve adored her from her nascent Eurythmics days to her first solo release Diva to the present.

To kick off her show, Lennox emerged through a scrim-like curtain that caught the light and smoke indicative of her trademark theatrics. She lit into her cover of "No More I Love Yous," from 1995’s Medusa, and sent her audience to their feet in rousing approval.

 A woman of few words—her body language, cat-like eyes and arresting voice do the talking for her—Lennox followed her opening with flawless performances of Diva’s "Little Bird" and "Walking on Broken Glass", before cooling it down with a stirring rendition of "Pavement Cracks", from Bare and on to her brand new, post 9/11 masterpiece "Dark Road", from the new release.

Each opening to these already-tried-and-true gems sent shrieks of approval and applause rippling through the crowd. Rife with self-reflexivity of her own over-the-top persona, which often embraces camp and drag, Lennox’s backdrop consisted of corresponding videos to her songs. Nostalgia for those who grew up entranced with Lennox, the video diary underscored the diva’s enduring comprehension of music melded with theater.

Just as the audience settled into a live reflection of Lennox’s solo career, she stepped out in front of the scrim, sans her band, and lit into a dialed-down version of the Eurythmics smash "Here Comes the Rain Again". A brief foray into Bare’s "A 1,000 Beautiful Things" and Lennox’s back-up singers joined her feminist anthem—originally dueted with the soul-Queen Aretha Franklin—"Sisters are doing it for Themselves". A valentine to a crowd already in love with the gender-bending gay and lesbian icon, Lennox turned out high-octane performances of "When Tomorrow Comes" and "Thorn in my Side", from Eurythmics 1986 crowd-pleasing record, Revenge.

She soon followed with Eurythmics’ "There Must be an Angel (Playing with my Heart)." A woman who’s as popular with gay men as lesbians for her male-drag ala "Sweet Dreams" and her woman playing a man in drag for her "I Need a Man" era, Lennox’s Eurythmics set paid homage to an ardent fan base that’s loved her since she died her hair impossibly red and donned a man’s board room attire.

When it felt as though Lennox had delivered her last Eurythmics paean, she launched into that band’s universal hit, "Sweet Dreams", sending her audience to the brink. Then, she hit the crowd with PSA highlighting her efforts to initiate change for African women and babies suffering from AIDS, and into her latest anthem "Sing", a revival-esque song and political campaign aimed at helping to stamp out the ostensible genocide.

With a wink and a nudge, Lennox closed with "Why", from Diva. Behind her the video of Lennox from 15 years ago, donning the plumage and make-up of Vegas show-girl or a Busby Berkeley dancer, played behind her. As the eyes, the voice and the timeless, short blonde coiffure exited the stage, on the video behind her, a neon sign flickered "diva."