Concert Review: Lauryn Hill shows up more than 2 hours late to Atlanta show

Lauryn Hill will open the Chastain season on Friday. Photo: AP

Lauryn Hill will open the Chastain season on Friday. Photo: AP

By JEWEL WICKER/ Jewel.wicker@ajc.com, originally filed Saturday, May 7, 2016

It’s 11 p.m.

Lauryn Hill’s microphone has just been cut nearly 40 minutes into her set because of Chastain Park Amphitheatre’s strict curfew.

The singer continues to perform for a few minutes longer, despite the fact that the crowd’s booing is far more audible than her singing. Finally, she turns to the side of the stage, flashing her hands repetitively as if she is asking for 10 more minutes.

It doesn’t work.

Eventually, she gives up and takes a few pictures with fans as people start to head towards the nearest exit.

This is the end of what was a disastrous start to Chastain Park Amphitheatre’s 2016 Delta Live Nation Concert series.

It’s no secret, Lauryn Hill has a reputation for being late to shows. But that didn’t make waiting more than two hours and 20 minutes for the singer to take the stage for the concert any more bearable.

At a certain point, not even the singer’s DJ, who was playing popular songs such as Wayne Wonder’s “No Letting Go” and Ludacris’ “Move [Expletive],” could make waiting for that long bearable. There was no opening act.

As people began to boo, the DJ encouraged the crowd to sing along to Prince’s “Purple Rain,” then “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” This worked for a while.

But by the time Lauryn Hill took the stage around 10:20 p.m., commenting on how nice the venue was, the crowd was back to booing. The singer never acknowledged her late arrival. In a video that has surfaced on Twitter, Hill seems to place the blame on her driver.

“My driver got lost, I can’t control that,” she says.

Hill performed for nearly 40 minutes, delivering adequate vocal performances of a few popular songs during the short set, including “Mystery of Iniquity” and “Everything is Everything.” Despite Hill’s late start, the crowd was more than happy to sing along to “Ex-Factor,” and an impressive guitar solo during the song made it the standout.

Her band, which featured a three-piece horn section and three background singers, was amazing. Her two dancers were a good addition.

Blue and fuchsia lights illuminated the stage, while candles sat atop a table in front of the singer as she played guitar for a portion of the show. Even though she was performing in an amphitheater, Hill still managed to make the stage feel intimate.

Nothing about Hill’s time on stage was bad. That’s what makes this so frustrating. This probably would’ve been a good show had fans been privy to the entire set.

But, nothing Hill did was good enough to make her tardiness acceptable, either.

In the end, attendees may forget how cool it was to see Lauryn Hill perform a few of their favorite songs for less than an hour, but they’ll definitely remember how inconsiderate it was of her to make them wait.


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