Lauryn Hill’s concert review

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Lauryn Hill at the O2 – Spring 2012

 Not over the Hill…

It’s unfortunate, yet expected, that Lauryn Hill’s quiet return in spring 2012 was met with speculation over jubilation. Will she be preaching religion, does she let white people listen to her music now and has she stopped crying yet? With many highly successful artists, she was famously known for falling victim to being eaten by her own fame but as not to dwell on the distracting negatives, it’s more than fair to say that Lauryn Hill is ready for resurrection.

Her  rare and one-off show in London’s O2  Indigo sold out within hours despite the £50 price proving Lauren fans are still holding a torch for the singer / MC albeit a curious one. It’s almost easy to forget how meaty her back-catalogue is despite her few album releases. She’s clearly a quality over quantity artist – anyone who owns The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill will know that the album is a glorious string of pearly classics.

Lauren honoured her MC roots with her delivery of the classic hip-hop tracks that had us all singing ‘one time!’

After an unceremonious strut onto the stage, Lauren wasted no time in thudding hit after hit to the Saturday night crowd.  Perhaps in respect to the most energetic night of the week or perhaps to mark her jubilation at being back on form, all her tracks, even the characteristically mellow melodies, were infused with a heavy jolt of funk as delivered by her throbbing full live band.

Being the jewel in the Fugees crown, Lauren honoured her MC roots with her delivery of the classic hip-hop tracks that had us all singing ‘one time!’ back then  in the 90s, and now again at the Millenium Dome.  Live rap often falls victim to being an incoherent breathy muffle of lyrics, yet Lauren’s delivery was eloquent and crystal clear and she swayed from rough and ready rap to smooth and soulful songs like sharpened  scissors to silk.

Her Marley affiliations (she has six kids with now ex Ziggy Marley) were manifested in some glorious renditions of Bob’s trademark songs and for good measure we were treated to Stevie Wonder’s Jamming  before she gave us a teaser of one, and only one, song from some suggested new material.

Six kids down and a shady drug affiliation in her past, Lauren still sports her baby doll looks with that unmistakable floodlight smile.  Wearing a long metallic gold gown tamed with a green parker jacket which was never removed, Lauren looked a vision of health and sounded as beautiful as a bell.

With no encore, no overindulgent solos or vain displays of talent, Lauren clearly wanted to get down to the business of reminding the crowd who she was and hopefully…who she continues to be. Welcome back Lauren. You’ve been missed.

Footage from GreyCotton.com – thanks!

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