Doors for the Ms. Lauryn Hill show at the Pageant on January 16 were moved to 9 p.m. late yesterday. The reserved balcony is sold out, and as of yesterday, very few $53 general admission tickets were available. What's missing from this equation is the start time of the show; that's nowhere to be found on the Pageant's website. That vagueness is probably for a good reason: At her show on Monday night in New York, an 8 p.m. start time turned into an 11 p.m. start time turned into the show actually starting around midnight. Village Voice music editor Rob Harvilla found the wait worth it, however: "I feel terrible for those poor people who left, both because they missed the show, and because the show itself was actually fantastic."
You know this about Lauryn Hill already, of course: the relentless lateness, the defiant aggro-rock scrambling of her beloved solo + Fugees back catalog (typical banter: "See if you recognize this one!"), the physically painful rasp now seemingly omnipresent in her voice. Only two out of three tonight, though: Her voice sounds great, actually, clear and brash and lethal, shifting from the straight reggae crooning of "Forever Loving Jah" (more Bob Marley) to the rap-metal swagger of "Lost Ones" to the simmering torch-song theatrics of "When It Hurts So Bad," directing the band to lay out as she adds a wailing a capella coda that leaves her nowhere to hide and no reason to.
Once you accept that you're probably not going to get these songs as you originally heard/loved them, you're free to marvel at the audacity of Ms. Lauryn Hill in 2011...
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