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Lauryn Hill Saves Best Songs for Last at Jazz in the Gardens

Vallery Jean, FilmMagic

Lauryn Hill‘s Moving Target tour seems fittingly dubbed considering the scathing reviews that have haunted the first leg of her tour. Fans have largely been bewildered by L. Boogie’s tardiness, unapologetic diva-like attitude and almost unrecognizable remixes of fan favorites.

Saturday (March 19) was a slight improvement as the singer headlined at Jazz in the Gardens in Miami. At least she was only about an hour late getting on stage this time, which may or may not have actually been due to technical difficulties.

The Sun Life Stadium grounds were packed to the nines with fans clamoring (a little less
enthusiastically by now) to see if Ms. Hill could revive their memory of what hip-hop used to be. The backdrop on stage gave visual to the long-held memory of a bold young songstress with uncompromising lyrics, dreads and an enviable ’70s inspired fashion sense. An entirely different picture emerged however when Hill herself took the stage.

There was a collective sense of confusion and mouths were gaping in reaction to the singer’s hobo-like ensemble, bowl-cut weave hidden under a baseball cap and clownish makeup. One person in the crowd remarked, “What’s she been going through?!” and another asked, “Is that her?” Much of this confusion is due to the fact that the Fugees frontwoman has been largely reclusive and unwilling to give interviews over the last decade, leaving her fans to wonder about her well-being.

About three songs into the concert, the initial shock wore off and was replaced by the relief that Hill, despite her current fashion sense (or lack thereof), still has that strong, raspy voice her fans have been missing. She ran through a long list of solo hits and songs from her days with the Fugees. But the crowd was made uncomfortable again by the fact that the songs had been reworked so much that they couldn’t follow along. It appeared that Lauryn Hill was aware that she was practically pulling teeth, as she continuously snapped at her band to “get it going” and “pick up the pace.”

The crowd was so put off that many people ended up leaving the concert by the end of ‘Zealots.’ But redemption eventually came, sort of, for those who stayed. The singer saved most of her best songs for last, and kept them intact enough for nostalgia to finally set in. ‘Fu-Gee-La’ got the crowd jumping and raising their arms in the air. She ended out the show with ‘Killing Me Softly’ and gave a final encore with Bob Marley’s ‘Turn Your Lights Down Low’ and ‘Doo Wop (That Thing).’ Though the show proved to be largely awkward, it ended a little less awkward.

Before leaving the stage, Ms. Hill gave out her new Twitter account @MsHillMvngTrgt and
announced that she would be giving a very last minute concert at Grand Central Miami the following day (March 20). The second leg of the Moving Target Concert Tour will continue in various U.S. cities through May.

Watch Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’


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