Ms. Lauryn Hill fails to disappoint with stunning performance in Vancouver
Vancouver, BC – Surrounding the insanity and imminent feeling of dread that hovered over North America on the evening of November 8th as Trump inched closer and closer to victory, Lauryn Hill provided the patrons at Queen Elizabeth Theater in Vancouver an escape like no other. There are many people who would argue that this election will not affect Canada. Although we do not know whether or not we will be directly impacted by Donald Trump as president, all Canadians should be concerned and worried about a country that we love and that has been like a family member to us for years.
Hearts and minds were heavy walking into the concert but the minute the beautiful and amazing Mrs. Lauryn Hill revealed herself on stage, the rooms was at ease. She wasted no time immediately launching into an incredibly upbeat and sped up version of “Everything is Everything” and as she moved into equally intense performances of “When it Hurts So Bad” and “Forgive Them Father” the election was slowly forgotten and it became all about the music. Ms. Hill was flanked by an 8-piece band and three stunning back-up singers. Throughout the show ten flashing strobe lights lit up the stage and the crowd in brilliant greens, pinks and other various colours and at the end of each song only a single white spot light remained, shining directly on L-Boogie herself, reminding us who is the boss.
Lauryn Hill is the ultimate artist. Unparalleled and unmatched by few in her generation. She was the star, the lead-singer, and the acoustic guitarist of her own performance while also finding time to orchestrate the entire show, directing the backup vocalists with on timing and sound even cuing electric guitar and drum solos with precision, silencing the entire band when she was rapping her flawlessly prepared verses. Not once did she miss a note, a word, a pitch or a dance step along the way.
As the crowd danced along and bobbed their heads to the remixes of favourite tracks the words never lost their meaning. Lauren Hill managed to provide not only music to dance and wave our hands to but also words to feel and reflect upon. As she sat down in centre stage on a white sofa with her guitar in hand, the opening note of “Rebel” rang out over the theatre and a sense of awareness settled over the crowd. This song, which was released in 2002 on her live recorded MTV Unplugged 2.0 album, has a message that rings loudly and clearly perhaps more now than ever before. After the song she spoke briefly about the election with the reminder to “stand up and live” – which was almost unnecessary but was still taken straight to the heart.
One would think that the rollercoaster ride that has been Lauryn Hill’s career may have had a slight negative impact on her success but it seems to have had the opposite effect. The love in the air directed toward Mrs. Hill was palpable. The sold-out theatre was filled with hundreds of fans who knew every word to every song, who couldn’t help but stand and dance even if everyone else in their row was sitting, and who screamed cries of adoration and praise towards the stage anytime there was a break in the music. When she laughed, we cheered. When she hit a high note, we clapped. When she hiked up her pants and busted a move with her backup dancers, we lost our goddamn minds. It is almost as if her setbacks and her struggles have made her into someone that everyone can relate to. Fans appreciate her because she is real and at times a reflection of ourselves, the good parts and the bad parts. She is someone that we can all connect with through her life and through her music. With her performance of “Do-Wop (That Thing)” to close the show the room left feeling thankful for Lauryn Hill and most importantly, hopeful for the future.
Review by Brian Okoronkwo for HipHopCanada
Photography by John Abiwon for HipHopCanada
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