Second Best Concert Of The Past Twelve Months

On her debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, this Fugee diva-for-the-millennium was sultry without being crass, vulnerable without being weak, and, most of all, grounded and intelligent while still gazing skyward. In one knowing lyrical snap she looked around at her pop-music peers and sang, "C'mon, baby, light my fire/Everything you drop is so tired/Music is supposed to inspire/So how come we ain't getting no higher?" February's Bob Marley Festival in Bayfront Park may have billed Hill as merely a supporting act, but from her opening notes to the audience's ongoing and fervent squeals of "Lauryn!" there was no doubt who owned the night. Backed by a crisp horn section and a very live band, Hill proved she could take it to the stage, strutting and crooning her way through a thrilling set that nodded to the glory days of Motown and Seventies Philly soul, but was wholly of-the-moment. This was the Marley festival, so there was a smoky haze hanging over the park, but it was Hill who took everyone a little bit higher.


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