Monday, September 22, 2014

The misfiring reappearance of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill's trying a comeback, and started in Brixton.

Now, her live performances have sometimes been a bit mixed, but anyone who buys a ticket for Hill in 2014 is pricing in that the event could be erratic-bordering-on-inexplicable, right?

But a late start, angry tweets and poor reviews marred her first sell-out gig at the Brixton Academy in London.
The 39-year-old singer, famous for her 1998 album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", arrived on stage with a five-piece band and three backing singers at 9:58 p.m. on Saturday.

The show, with tickets selling for 55 pounds ($90), had been advertised to start at 9 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.
Okay, so an hour late. That's not a good start, but it's a Saturday night. We're all okay staying up a bit late on a Saturday, right. Especially for a great gig.

It was great, right?
When she arrived, Hill spent 80 minutes performing a combination of re-worked hits from her debut album, the only solo studio album she has made, and delving into pop and rock territory.

Songs from "The Score", another award-winning album Hill recorded as part of the Fugees in 1996, were left largely untouched, along with a number of tracks from her 2002 MTV Unplugged 2.0 album.

Hill also performed covers of "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" by Nancy Sinatra, The Flamingos' "I Only Have Eyes for You" and a few Bob Marley classics, including "Soul Rebel", "Jammin'" and "Is This Love".
To me, that sounds okay - if I'm a big enough fan to go and see her, that she does some solo stuff and a few classic seems a good mix.
Yuichi Miyama, a 31-year-old paralegal from London, said on Twitter: "Lauryn Hill is the most disappointing concert I have ever been to. That's heart-breaking."

He explained to Reuters at the concert that he didn't recognize a lot of the songs Hill performed.

"The bottom line is Lauryn Hill is a singer and there are a lot of songs on that album that she sings certain things in such a beautiful way," he said.
Wow. You admire Lauryn Hill as a singer, and yet think that she has chosen to sing things in the wrong way. I can see why you might be disappointed. I can't see why you didn't know this would happen, and didn't choose instead to stay at home and listen to the album. Because the album always sounds like the album, and Lauryn Hill live - when she turns up - never sounds like the album.