I went to the Lauryn Hill concert held at the O2 Arena, London on the 3rd Dec 2018. Considering that I booked this concert months in advance and I would have the privilege of watching the performance as a VIP, it seemed that the event couldn't come quick enough! I grew up hearing about Lauryn Hill and over the years I sporadically listened to her more popular tunes like Ex-Factor, Everything is Everything and Turn Your Lights Down Low. What truly was a turning point for me (in embracing her as an underrated but extremely talented artist) was when I started to come across her unplugged sessions. It was in these recordings that I heard her more controversial but extremely powerful songs like The World Is a Hustle, Social Drugs, Damnable Heresies and Mr Intentional. These songs are a direct challenge to the establishment and life as we know it which is why it's no surprise that they never made it to an album (or have they?). Needless to say, once I was aware that she would be performing in London to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her album The Miseducation of Lauryn HIll, it didn't take much to convince me to attend!
It was absolutely worth it! The arena started out looking like this:
But three hours later, it transformed into this......
She came out in full style, exhibiting a very unique dress sense but speaking words that were humble and gracious. She is not only a wonderful artist but a beautiful human being. The following videos show her performing a song that spoke of the conflicts and chaos that the Black community is subjected to and also gives a feel of the type of dialogue she gladly engaged in (with the audience) while on stage:
Then she started to do some of my favourite tracks from her album. Apologies for the videos not being as clear but you'll get the idea :-)
So what's my final verdict? The 3 hour wait was worth it! I did enjoy myself and I am grateful that we still have artists like Lauryn Hill who would rather sacrifice everything than allow the demands of the industry to kill honest, thought-provoking and soulful music. It was not only incredible to see the arena packed with all of us who were delighted to celebrate this wonderful icon but it was even more amazing that we spanned different generations, ranging from ages 20 to over 40. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for new music and insights from the legendary Ms Hill and I hope you will too!