Lauryn Hill may have a reputation for being a difficult, and sometimes wayward artist but seeing her perform, even if it meant travelling to another country to do so, could not have been more comfortable or more enjoyable.
Eurostar recently launched it’s direct service from London to Amsterdam.
Their services has become one of the most convenient and pleasant ways to travel for a lot of my European jaunts, and the process of checking in, clearing security, scanning tickets, and all the other rigmarole associated with travelling abroad seems much smoother than most airports I have experienced.
This journey was more than just a live gig, it was the 20th anniversary of Ms Lauryn Hill’s iconic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album was written in exasperation and hope after the dissolution of the Fugees and documents the relationship between Ms Hill and her bandmate Wyclef Jean. Soon after making this defining album she left the music industry to raise her children.
Her returns to the live arena have often been marred by stories of a difficult personality and a reputation for lateness, but tonight nothing seems to be further from the truth. Many fans have commented on such tardiness as being disrespectful to those who buy tickets to watch her shows, but I would say that it is more disrespectful to loyal supporters if they turn up to find their favourite artist lip-synching through the performance. Not that Ms Hill would ever need to resort to such cheap tricks and by contrast, her vocal delivery is both impressive and sublime.
The arena was full with a crowd made up of all ages, parents and children, family and friends, fans from back in the day, and those who have come to the artist more recently. They were all united by one common cause. As Ms Lauryn Hill reminded us just why this album and her performances had become the stuff of legend, the audience had only two real choices; To stand and stare at this iconic artist; To dance along, and stare at this iconic artist. She is known for freestyling through her set, often meaning that singing together is not the easiest thing to do, as she delivers unique takes on her music and wanders from the lyrical script. But as the better-known numbers occurred towards the end of the set, the whole arena could be heard singing the words to `”Killing Me Softly” and “Ready or Not”.
Ms Lauryn Hill proved that all she needs is a stage, a collection of sublime songs, and her awesome vocals. The Dutch crowd lapped up every moment. Ms Hill carried the audience through memories and nostalgia, a tribute to 20 years of this fantastic album, and the equally amazing women who made it and proving that music, like fine wine, can also age gracefully.
After such an inspiring musical experience, the last thing I wanted to do was jump on a train and rush home again, so I stayed at The Toren Hotel.
The hotel seems to be stuck in another world, a mixture of the elegance and opulence of the past, a blend of original features and modern convenience. A few humorous touches to keep things exciting and offbeat, it works! A perfect place to compliment Eurostar and my comfort needs.
Livenation lists a string of dates for Ms Lauryn Hill: Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tour, including Wembley SSE Arena on 17th December 2018.
Written by: Ray Si – member of IGLTA