Today’s post is gonna be a rundown of one of my most anticipated concerts this year, Lauryn Hill’s 20th anniversary tour for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, one of the most iconic albums released ever in my opinion.
I spent most of the day of the concert listening to the album and a few other songs from Lauryn, before getting ready and heading into the city to meet my cousin at Flinder’s Street Station. It was getting pretty chilly so I was very grateful to have a jacket with me for the little walk we had around the city.
We decided to find something to eat for dinner before we headed to the concert, so stopped at The Oriental Teahouse, where we enjoyed some of the best fried rice, prawn and ginger dumplings and san choi bao I’ve ever had. We also had the cutest brewed ice teas in giant mason jars. It was a great dinner and a great way to start off the night.
Finishing up with dinner we jumped on the tram and made our way towards the Sidney Myer Music Bowl were the concert was being held.
It was already pretty busy by the time we got inside the grounds, but we still had plenty of time to head to the merchandise stand where I got the sickest t-shirt ever and my cousin got a really cute, high quality tote bag. Lauryn Hill did not mess around when it came to her merch. After a quick stop at the toilets before the show, we made our way down the hill and found a spot further up the back which gave us a great view of the Music Bowl as well as plenty of room to both sit down on the grass while waiting and stand up and have a boogie when the show started.
Nas was the opening act and he did an incredible job of hyping everyone up, performing plenty of his older classics as well as his more recent songs. It was the perfect opener for Lauryn Hill, clearly, and he got the crowd hyped and ready for the main show.
There was a short DJ set following Nas, where plenty of old school RnB and hip hop songs were played, and then finally it was time for Lauryn Hill.
She sang so many classics man. Lost Ones, Forgive Them Father, Final Hour, Every Ghetto Every City, Superstar, even a cover of Frankie Vallie’s Can’t Take My Eyes Of You. She obviously sang Ex-Factor and I was really hoping she’d rap over Drake’s Nice For What which he samples the song in like I’d seen her do at a concert online, but sadly she didn’t.
She made up for it by singing To Zion though, just as I was reaching peak enjoyment, and I think everyone around my cousin and I could hear us singing (screaming) along. After The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill she got Nas onstage to perform If I Ruled The World which had everyone going mental. Lauryn fans and Nas fans all collectively lost control and screamed the entire song back to them.
Watching her on stage, squinting to see her in the flesh or even watching her on the huge screens, was mesmerising. She was so in control over everything little thing that was happening on stage, and her band were incredible in keeping up with her, taking note of when she decided to improvise, pushing through when she asked more of them.
Throughout all of this year and most of last year, all the feedback I heard about Lauryn Hill and her show was that she was a huge diva. I’ll say this, definitely see how that could be the case. But, whoever is doing her sound system and backline should lift their game. There were a few sound issues towards the start and throughout the concert it was clear that Lauryn was trying to tell them she couldn’t hear herself or anything coming from the fold-back, regardless of how flawlessly she was performing. It was only by the last half of the set that everything slipped into place and settled, but for an artist such as Lauryn Hill, that should not have been an issue in the first place, so if she was being a diva? Damn right she should be a diva. Her messages throughout the concert of acceptance and love and social responsibility were spot on and got everyone cheering for her, so to be fair, I can handle her being a bit of a diva if it means she puts on the show that she did.
She really decided to end with a bang, performing Doo Wop (That Thing) next, which kept the momentum going. By this point I don’t think anyone was left sitting down, my cousin and I and everyone around us were all up having a groove.
The final song she performed was Killing Me Softly and I swear I nearly started crying. It was such a great song, she performed beautifully and it blew all my expectations and memories of Blues Fest out of the water.