That’s kinda how I feel after attending her concert at the Center Stage in Atlanta. Have you ever been exposed to an artist that gave you goosebumps and hot flashes back to back? I have. Her name, Lauryn Hill. Her crime, single-handedly responsible for making a 24-year-old male experience symptoms of menopause. It ain’t right people it ain’t right. That amount of talent should be illegal for any one human to wield. But enough on that, please, allow me to tell you my story.
March thirty-first two thousand eleven. A date I hope to never forget. On this day I did something I never thought I’d ever have the chance to do which was to attend a live concert featuring my favorite musician of all time Ms. Lauryn Hill. I considered this a personal victory for myself because last year of December, I had the opportunity to attend one Hill’s previous concert but I was too hesitant and by the time I made my decision to plop down my 80 bucks, all the tickets were sold out. Ever since I instantly regretted my indecision on the matter so when the opportunity came again, I made sure not to make the same mistake twice and quickly purchased my tickets.
The week leading up to the concert date was hazy and when the day finally came, the excitement that I should have felt was not there, replaced instead with insecurity and fear. Like many other fans, I heard all the negative rumors about her previous performances. Showing up extremely tardy, giving lackluster performance, not having the same vocal quality, etc these were all the things swirling around in my mind. This negativity made me do something I haven’t done since high school which was to extremely lower my expectations. That way if the show was bad I wouldn’t be that disappointed because I was already expecting it to suck and if the show was great then it would almost seem twice as good.
The time now was 7:40 and the show officially began at 8:00. I lazily cruised down to the Center Stage arena and walked inside. It being my first time in the building, I was a little overcome with confusion and asked the ticket lady if I was supposed to give her my ticket. Her response was highly sarcastic with a hint of smart ass but I ashamedly I was in bitch mode at the moment so I didn’t respond, instead opting to just get the hell out of there and find my seat. Now comfortably in the arena in section G, I sat amongst the fans for a little while until a woman appeared on the stage to warm us up by reading some poetry. She was good but my imagination was better.
The majority of that time was spent with myself and Hacksaw Jim Duggan in tag team match against Osama Bin Laden and the ghost of Saddam Hussein; 1st blood rules. It was a tough fight and near the end we were close to losing it all as Bin Laden began massaging Hacksaw’s face against a cheese grater but at the last-minute Barrack Obama descended from the rafters like white Jesus and nailed Bin Laden in the back with a crow bar. This gave Hacksaw the split second he needed to tag me in to which I busted that terrorist sonuva bitch in the head with a steel chair, causing his cranium to ooze crimson and securing us the win.
The match would have lasted longer but it was at this time that the New Orleans band that was performing after the poet finished their last set and the dj came out to get us hyped for the main event. After a plethora of hits from memory lane, from Ante Up to the late great Nate Dogg, the dj concluded with If I Ruled the World and the moment I waited over 3 months for was finally upon us. By this time all doubt was removed from my mind and I was just ready to let loose like a 2 dollar whore in a caboose full of hard-ons.
Boogie came right off the bat full of fire, energy, and passion with a revamped version of Lost Ones. She continued to perform updated, soulful renditions of songs from the Miseducation album, and Unplugged but we all collectively went crazy when she began to rep The Score and asked the age-old question, “How Many Mics” (do we rip up on the daily)? My favorite song of the night however was her tribute to Bob Marley with “Is This Love.” Me being a coyote and all, I really loved the chorus as they had an intoxicating howl-like melody to back up the lyrics. I have some shoddy audio that I might upload to give as an example but it really doesn’t do the song justice.
The concert concluded with “That Thing” and the entire arena standing up, not a butt in the seat with happy in their feet. I waited for a minute, letting the good vibrations fully wash over me and after shaking hands with my impromptu date, wished her a good night and strolled out of the arena back to my house. On the way back, I was blunted on reality and overcome with a feeling of nirvana.
It was a great concert, amazing memory, and I’m happy I didn’t let the opinions of the naysayers dictate my opinions on this legendary artist. I’ve always been a supporter even when it seemed as if the world, everyone and their mother was ready to turn on Hill and label her all kinds of negative adjectives. For me and I’m sure all the fans in attendance this disproved those rumors and reminded us once again how gifted Ms. Hill truly is. My only regret is that I didn’t get to stand closer to the stage in the mecca of madness but it’s all good, I’ll make up for it next time.