Hundreds of people followed by clouds of smoke filled Santa Ana’s Observatory Thursday, Nov. 5 in hopes to hearing the limelight hidden, Ms. Lauryn Hill.
The doors opened at 8 p.m. and the opening show began at 9 p.m. with Reggae artist, Daniel Bambaata Marley.
Marley performed a number of his original pieces such as his 2014 single, “Maintain”, and even performed his own rendition of the classic Damian Marley song “Welcome to Jamrock.”
Following Marley’s performance was DJ Rex who played a number of songs, ranging from “’90s Hip Hop” to “Today’s Top 40”, while the stage crew began to set up for Hill’s show. The audience reacted by singing and dancing, filling the venue with more energy.
As the night crept on, the venue became hotter and louder, which made it seemed like their wasn’t any air conditioning nor a person limit. It is understandable why there wasn’t any standing room left on this night at The Observatory. Hill was a trailblazer in the late ’90s following her The “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” release.
A number of fans became inpatient and at one point a fan yelled that Hill should have already been on stage.
At 11 p.m., Hill finally took the stage with her band and three backup singers. She sat on a single stool with an acoustic guitar on her lap. As one soft spotlight beamed on her, a number of dimly-lit blue lights draped the rest of her band.
Hill opened with a few acoustic numbers from her MTV Unplugged album. She performed some crowd favorites such as the heartbreaking, “I’ve Got To Find Peace of Mind” and “Mystery of Inequity”, but the songs were almost unrecognizable due to the rearrangement of the numbers’ compositions. Though many fans seemed to have been enjoying the performance, many more seemed unsure of the now, upbeat songs.
Following her renditions of her Unplugged songs was the moment the entire crowd was waiting for. Hill’s guitar was taken away by one of her crew members and she began her songs from the infamous album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”
Again, she sang one of her most popular songs, “Ex-Factor” but with an unrecognizable arrangement. The rest of her performance seemed to be a mere repetition song after song. They seemed as if they were remixes and soon became mashups. With a full house, the only time the crowd seemed able or willing to sing along was when Hill sang a lyric as it had been recorded on the album.
Hills’ “MTV Unplugged 2.0” was an acoustic album released in 2002 with all the songs performed solely by her. Aside from the Unplugged album, the infamous 1998 “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” was the only album released by Hill. She left a crowd of people with an album of her’s that had been embedded in their brains for nearly two decades just to perform something they weren’t particularly used to.
Upon entering the venue, the crowd seemed wildly energetic to hear the seemingly hopeless romantic singer, but as the show ended, the energy leaving the venue was disappointing. Hill most definitely delivered with her voice, but seemed to lack the sheer emotion her fans desired.