Review: Lauryn Hill At Brixton Academy
We went to see Lauryn perform her biggest hits...
Neo-soul royalty Lauryn Hill played the first date of her UK short tour at Brixton Academy on Saturday night and as a huge fan, I would’ve loved to have written this review boasting how amazing the night was and screaming about her flawless performance… but frankly, it wasn’t.
What began as an excited wait soon turned into exasperation. After enduring two hours of a warm up DJ blaring hardcore dance music Lauryn’s own DJ finally took over, promising the ‘incomparable’ Ms Hill would be on stage shortly… (before asking the crowd what part of the States we were from?! Awkward).
Ms Hill finally skipped on stage at 10pm (an hour late), looking the best we’ve seen her in years, going straight into her Miseducation classic, 'Everything is Everything'. Unlike the original, which leaks of sensual soul, this new live rendition was reworked so heavily you’d think it was a completely different track, a recipe that followed for the next 45 minutes. As she tore through classics with these new arrangements, bangers such as 'Final Hour', 'Lost Ones', 'Ex-Factor' (at this point fans became frustrated trying to sing along to what sounded like a remix) were so reworked, it didn’t highlight just why Lauryn’s name is amongst legends.
After a short interval, she returned on stage with a guitar going into her 'Unplugged' CD - it was these acoustic performances of 'Adam Lives In Theory', 'Mr Intentional' and a few Bob Marley covers that showed she still has it; with beautiful vocals you’d think what on earth was she doing during the first of the half of her set?
With the crowd returning on her side, she switched the vibe and dropped hits from The Fugees days with 'How Many Mics', 'Fu-Gee-La' and 'Ready or Not', proving why she has a reputation for being one of the greatest rappers of the 90’s. Being well over curfew, the songs seemed a bit rushed; she thanked Brixton for joining her this evening before the infamous intro of 'Doo Wop (That Thing)' played to at which the point the entire sold out venue (the lovers and haters) had their hands in the air for the timeless record.
Those like myself who have followed Ms Hill over the years do not find her live shows disappointing. With rumours of her not having rights to her songs hence changing up the arrangement and tons more, you have to accept that this isn’t Lauryn Hill from 1998 anymore, and this show proved just that... expect The Re-Invention of Lauryn Hill.
Lauryn Hill is touring the UK until September 29 - for tickets and more info head to Live Nation.
Words: Ra'ed Khan
Edit: Maz Khan