>Put yourself in my shoes. Just last week I heard she was coming to town. I didn’t even know she was touring. I raced to buy tickets and didn’t flinch at the 68.00 price tag. This was the queen Lauryn after all. I was so eager to see her in concert that I neglected to think of my schedule.
So flash forward to yesterday. I’m at the office, buzzing because I can’t sit still from the anticipation. Call me a groupie, but there has never been a femcee quite like Lauryn. And even when she picked up the guitar too soon, I was a fan. By 5:00 I couldn’t help but search the interweb for the show reviews. I had to know what sort of set I was to expect. By 6:00, I popped a few pain pills to calm my nerves. I’m surprised I didn’t start bragging about my plans.
Flash forward to 9:12 pm. I am speeding down the Dallas Tollway, headed to the Harry Hines exit, hoping and praying that Lauryn hasn’t hit the stage. Then I remember the most important thing about Lauryn Hill- she may not be there when you want her, and she is never on time.
Though a few steps behind my gang, I made it to the venue in due time. A plethora of people from different races filled the place. A brass band from New Orleans kept the music going while the cool people mingled and mixed. Things felt right. I knew Lauryn was going to be here. Now the question was when.
The DJ mixed local records and scratching with a tribute to Nate Dogg in between sets, as the venue lights were brightened and the shadows in the crowd became faces. The anticipation was evident. A few guys in V.I.P. couldn’t handle their liquor. They jumped a little to hard when the DJ played the Lil Troy classic “Wanna Be A Baller”. As the clock hit 11:00, the queen made her way to the stage, commanding applause at the sight of her presence, adorned in a long ass dress with some weird ass buffalo soldier looking derby hat.
After a 5 minute soundcheck/ band bashing, she was ready to perform. She announced that she was do some of the old stuff and I wondered if there was really anything new. From the lead song to Lost Ones to the classic Fugees material, Lauryn whirled through the songs with a feverish pace, spitting out of breath and off beat here and there a bit too often for my liking. The first song half of her set had barely began when the dancers from V.I.P started a fight with a table full of girls, who in turn overreacted and threw punches and drinks at the dudes and their table. Security showed up and promptly escorted the girls away, but if you ask me, those dudes started that shit. Showing off for his girl and acting like a kid almost got him and his girl ass kicked right there in the show. The funniest thing besides my friend Jen taking a big splash of vodka to her backside (thats what she gets for winning the bet! haha), is that I swore I heard Lauryn stop mid song and state “they don’t know how to act.” and go right back into her verse. It got me thinking that maybe she’s not that focused up there.
About the time the fight ended, Lauryn finished a horrible rendition of “Killing Me Softly” and then went into a Bob Marley set, only to break away to other stuff before doing “Turn Your Lights Down”. It was as if someone was playing with her set list. It just didn’t make sense. So the question became, what would she end with?
My bets were on Zion. Everybody wanted Zion. She chose “Doo Wop (That Thing)”. I’m thinking, damn Lauryn, you open with that song, never close with it. I start to think- am I being too hard on Lauryn? Am I judging this show for more than its worth? Then I remember the 68.00 plus taxes I spent on the ticket, singular. Then I remember the pills I had in my system just to calm myself and its clear that she let me down, great expectations or not.
I love Lauryn Hill, but when you step to the stage and do that bullshit sound check shit and act like a raging diva, its kind of hard to say if I would ever go to another Lauryn Hill show. She doesn’t care about this shit no more. She wore a big ass hat the whole fucking night. She doesn’t want to be intimate with her audience. She doesn’t care about her audience. She just wants puppets to watch her and clap.
The truth is Lauryn Hill is pregnant. That old thing dress is definitely flattering to her belly bulge and that hump is a little to high to be a beer belly. So I get it. When Lauryn gets pregnant and needy, she’ll do some shows, and when I say do them, I mean that in the least considerable definition of the word do. When touring becomes a calender full of check marks, its time to take a break and go on vacation don’t ya think?
So am I mad? Not really. I kind of didn’t expect much anyway, so in a way I’m pleasantly surprised that she didn’t do anything wrong. She didn’t intimidate the crowd like I read in some other reviews. She didn’t storm off stage and not return like she did some time some years ago or whatever. But did she bring it? No.
I gotta get a real camera quick. My blackberry phone is so outdated.
—– Ryan Mega