i want to have a whole bunch to say, but i don't. this was my second time shooting Davita "Swatty" Gallowayin her own skin. oh yeah, i remember now... she recently cut her hair, and wanted to document the change. i was down. we shot in my new studio space. since i now have a steady place to shoot, i hope to get a lot more shooting in. that's it. latr.
( not my pic. found one on the internet, but this is what lauryn hill looked like last night - maybe a little less makeup)
in 2001 when lauryn hill performed and renounced a lot of the traps and pitfalls of celebrity in favor or being a real human being with frailties, loves, and priorities other than music, i applauded her. many started to think she was going crazy. i had her back.
but in the years since, i'm sure you've heard the different rumors swirling. and while there were positives, there have been many disapppointments. a lackluster fugees "reunion" single. one former bandmate said she needed some help, while the other said she was straight up "crazy". i've seen many images of her with clown-like makeup caked on her face. i didn't know what to think.
when i heard lauryn was coming to perform in charlotte, of course, i was excited. i wanted to see for myself what a 2011 lauryn hill performance would be. i just wanted to see lauryn do her thing, whatever that was. after i bought tickets, i started reading reviews that at various tour dates, she had been up to 4 hours late, performed for 20 minutes, and even passed out on stage. so i tried to lower my standards completley and not even expect to SEE lauryn hill.
MY ACTUAL REVIEW: the show was supposed to start at 9. when we got there at 8:30, there was a line that stretched almost completely around the block - and it was bone-chilling cold (new york cold in north carolina - so nobody was prepared). for the next 40 minutes, the line barely moved. not really sure how to explain how it feels standing outside in the cold for an hour when your face and extremities are getting numb, but it was torturous. and MAYBE ms. hill would show up. well, by 9:30 we get in side and around 10 the opening dj starts running through some incredible classics, keeping it purely true school hip hop, reggae, and house. he did an excellent job of warming the crowd up. hit after hit and a packed room got moving. he runs for about an hour and 10 minutes. by now, of course the anticipation for ms. hill has built up, and around 11:10 her tour dj comes out. tour dj plays some of the same classic hip hop songs the opening dj played which of course started killing the vibrant spirit built up and made the crowd want lauryn even more. in comparison to the local opening dj - lauryn's dj sucked. at 11:30 (not too shabby considering the opening act started at 10 and played continuously) lauryn hill steps on stage with her 10 piece band. hip hops favorite lady has arrived and the crowd shows her love. she greets us and opens up with a bob marley cover. she then goes into some popular tracks from miseducation, starting with "lost ones". her voice was a little raspy, but when isn't it? she then goes into "zion", and afterward tells an amusing anecdote about her oldest son who is now 13 (damn!). her energy was live. her band creates amazing new soundscapes to freshen the decade plus year old lyrics, and almost every song was stretched out and "remixed" to make it about 8 minutes long. she followed miseducation with five tracks from off the score. she left the stage briefly, and came back with "turn your lights down low" and a few more cuts from miseducation and the score. she really brought it. my only complaint was, she flew through rap verses, making it a little difficult to follow along, but i understand performing live requires way more energy than studio recording, so it may not always sound as smooth. i applaud her.
i don't know what to think of ms. hill as a person right now. but she's a great artist, her personal life isn't my business. i don't know what she did or didn't do at other shows, but in charlotte, nc, she really showed her fans respect and put her all into the show. she earned my ticket money - an overall pleasurable experience. if she every releases new material sometime soon, i'd definitely pay to go see her again. she should fire her tour dj.