Emerging onto the extra humidified Crystal Ballroom stage—just as the strong northern sunlight had relinquished its radiated grips upon the venue—there was minimal introductory fanfare, just the deep, powerful, and instantly familiar voice of Lauryn Hill that has been too rarely heard over the past decade.
I'm not sure anyone has ever carried themselves with more authority on stage than Ms. Hill. Her every nuance and gesture clearly demanding an exacting response from the veteran band, lest they face untold but deeply implied consequences.
Looking comfortable and of course confident, L. Boogie wore an oversized silk blouse emblazoned with the surrealist work of Magritte—it was too hot for me to try and discern any message she may have been implying with this, but it did look great along with her giant quasi-sunhat.
Going through all of the Miseducation/Fugees classics, and sounding great, Lauryn prevented performance boredom for herself by stretching the tracks well beyond 10 minutes each, with extended solos, breakdowns and buildups. And while no one seemed disappointed, there was a continuous stream of people leaving the sweltering venue early and exhausted, myself and company among them.
To our amazement, upon finishing (an excellent) meal at neighboring Cassidy's and walking back by Crystal, we were astonished to find the concert still going strong, Lauryn's voice booming up and down Burnside.
Lots more photos after the jump!
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