What’s Worth Watching: Annie Lennox Rocks the Classics

Annie Lenox
Courtesy of PBS
Annie Lenox

Great Performances, “Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert” (Friday, April 3, 10/9c, PBS, check local listings)

Prepare to be blown away. With a minimum of fuss and with maximum style, the dynamic Annie Lennox rocks classics from the American Songbook in a soaring hour-long Great Performances concert (taped at Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theatre) derived from her seventh solo album, Nostalgia. Despite its title, there’s nothing musty or old-fashioned in Lennox’s bluesy, silkily jazzy interpretations of such enduring tunes as “Georgia on My Mind,” “Summertime,” “God Bless the Child,” and “The Nearness of You.”

“This here’s a love fest,” Lennox remarks toward the end, and she earns the adulation with a range of moods, from the haunting “Strange Fruit” to a rambunctious, New Orleans–style spin on Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” By the time she encores with a few of her own greatest hits, the audience has gone beyond nostalgia to a state of blissful nirvana. (In something of a musical double whammy, PBS precedes this special with a Live From Lincoln Center presentation of Tony winner Billy Porter’s “Broadway and Soul” concert, featuring musical-theater standards and a medley from his current hit Kinky Boots.)