Lauryn Hill: Time to get re-educated

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill (Credit: Getty)

Ticket companies such as Ticketmaster usually have a list of conditions and restrictions printed on their tickets. These usually take the form of legalese such as “any unlawful sale or attempted sale subjects ticket to revocation without refund” and “commercial use of ticket prohibited without written approval.”

With Ms. Lauryn Hill — and yes, she now demands that title in her billing — returning to New York tonight for one of the final shows of her tour, we’d like to propose a few more ticket warnings specifically for the ex-Fugee.

Caution: Show time is approximate
Thus far on Hill’s tour, she’s been substantially late to the stage at almost every tour stop. Doors were opened at 8 p.m. for her kickoff show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in December, but Ms. Hill didn’t take the stage until midnight, according to Rolling Stone.

As Roots drummer Questlove tweeted before seeing Hill in concert on Jan. 5, “Nodoze (check), slippers (check), zebrasnuggie (check), pillows (check), alarmclock (check), snacks....(Wanna guess the artist I’m seeing 2nite?)”

Note: Songs may have changed in transit
“The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” is a classic, one that hip-hop and soul fans of a certain age know by heart. But Ms. Hill has decided to eschew the original arrangements for many of her classics, playing new versions that have been described by some critics as slap-dash and undercooked. Others, though, have praised the new takes on older material. But don’t be fooled: Your favorite “Miseducation” track might sound dramatically different than you remember.

Warning: Voices change over time
It’s been more than eight years since Hill’s appearance on “MTV Unplugged,” and in that time it’s natural for a singer’s voice to go through some changes.

A perusal of amateur videos on YouTube reveals a voice that has lowered somewhat and attained an almost smoky quality. In addition, when Hill’s straining to hit a note, she sometimes gets gravelly in tone.

Refunds will not be given — and may not be wanted
Critical opinion has differed throughout her tour. Even Questlove, while good-naturedly zinging Hill’s lateness, said the show was “well worth the wait.”

At a time when the desire to be note-perfect has led to the artist-as-AutoTune-robot, maybe we need Hill and singers like her to take some risks and try something different.

There’s no telling whether the show tonight will be good. But it’ll sure be different from anything else in music today.

If you go: Ms. Lauryn Hill is performing Tuesday at the Highline Ballroom. Doors open at 8 p.m.; the concert is said to start at 11 p.m. 431 W. 16th St., 212-414-5994, $75

Tags: Entertainment , Lauryn Hill , Miseducation

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