So to get the exclusive “scoop” on Ms. Lauryn Hill for the 9 Mile Music Festival coming up this Saturday in Miami, I have graciously asked a guest blogger Corey P. to give his review on her recent performance at Lincoln Center in Washington, DC. Thanks so much!
This weekend, I had the privilege to see Lauryn Hill perform at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, DC. The concert took me on a rollercoaster of experiences. She took the audience to church and then to the club, down memory lane and into new territory, and reminded us in the audience that music is as natural to her as breathing for everyone else.
First, let’s get the bad out of the way.
The doors opened at 8 PM….the performance didn’t start until 10:30ish. The ticket did conveniently leave a start time for the concert off, but you would think that we would see a start time somewhat closer to the “doors open” time. I read critiques in the past that Hill has been inconsistent in the timeliness department since disappearing from the public eye in early 2000s, so I was hoping with each minute passing that this would not be the Hill I would experience that night.
I also read about her reimagining of many of her popular songs for her shows. While many articles I read found this annoying or a point of frustration, I actually found it refreshing. She did reimagine many of her songs at the concert, but…
She can SANG. And that night, in case you forgot about “Miseducation” Lauryn, she intended to remind you. When she showed up, it was like electricity coursed through the entire venue. People immediately got out of their seats and entered into their space of hypeness.
She gave us a little bit of Fugees, a little bit of the “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”, and even did her own cover of songs by Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley. I loved the concert because it highlighted her versatility and talent that we all fell in love with. I mean she could have performed just about anything in the second set, and I would have been mesmerized. Sister Act 2 anyone?
She effortlessly flowed between songstress and emcee, and each song appeared to be just what the crowd wanted in that moment. Even when she gave us “remixed” versions of her songs, the crowd, and myself included, went with it. We went with it because you could tell she was passionate about the product and delivery of the performance that night. She was interacting with the band and connecting with the audience.
My two favorite performances of the night were actually both songs she did with the Fugees – Killing Me Softly and Fu-Gee-La. When she opened up “Killing Me Softly”, folks acted like they were in the middle of second service of Mount Holy Riverside Shiloh 1st Missionary Church. The crowd immediately fell silent and her voice mesmerized us. It seemed so effortless for her. And once the band kicked in, the crowd was right there with her, singing along. “Fu-Gee-La” was so dope. I forgot just how ridiculous her verses and skills were as a lyricist.
That concert reminded me just how much her departure from the public eye was a loss to the music world. I hope she comes back to us with new material in 2014. Take a listen to a couple clips from the concert below!
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Laurean D. Robinson, MA