Let’s for a brief moment say that you’re an artist known for putting on stellar performances and everything that’s been said about you has been only positive, you might then say that last night’s performance was one of your best – this however hasn’t been the case for Lauryn Hill in the past few years. For a variety of reasons she’s built up a reputation for not only being hours late but putting on performances that were contrary to the iconic artist she’s become in many people’s eyes.
Not one to be put off by rumours I waited for what seemed ages (it wasn’t actually that long, but I think I’d checked my watch about 10 times in the space of 20 minutes – I was rightfully apprehensive) as the music played and then her DJ played a set – a great tribute to reggae and some classic hip hop tracks and then later he was joined on stage.
Amidst the sound of the music I heard a voice that I’d grown to know and love, and then she was there – L Boogie was in the house! Now growing up, I remember talk of how she had it all, looks, skills as an actress, vocalist and under the umbrella of rapper was lyrically on point and last night’s performance was definitely a reminder of that.
Rocking her hair shortly cropped and donning and gold lame dress (which caused her some trouble and spurred a comedic freestyle which included the lyric “too much baby, not even breasts – pulling up my dress, pulling up my dress) She looked as though she’d stepped off the set of Sister Act 2 – that’s some black that is definitely not cracking anytime soon!
A friend of mine who also attended the show commented on the fact that although he was looking forward to seeing her perform that he’d be disappointed if she didn’t perform songs that he knew fans would want to hear. I know he wasn’t disappointed as despite what seemed to be an ongoing sound issue with her earpiece (which at one point I did think she might have a ‘moment’ with the sound guy about) she performed almost all of her old material, plus songs from the Fugees with a few tributes to Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder. Her band were on point, fuelling extended versions of her songs with equal parts rock and the familiar sounds of Reggae.
Her backing vocalists provided a sound that was close to perfection and when performing ‘Nothing Even Matters’ a song originally performed by D’Angelo – her male vocalist definitely did the song justice. There was even talk of her coming back to perform songs from her Unplugged album, much to the audiences delight.
The Miseducation came out in 1998 and is still today revered as highly as it was over a decade ago. Since that time fans have watched Ms Hill go through a lot and put on performances that left their faith in her as a musician dented, but her performance last night was almost like her way of apologising for all of that. Ms Hill after tonight’s performance, you are well and truly forgiven.