Ms. Lauryn Hill at the Ritz

Last night I met up with my friend Sara and Lisa for dinner at The Bricks followed by the much anticipated return of Lauryn Hill  at the Ritz. 

I haven’t talked much about my love of music on my blog (or my love of Lauryn Hill for that matter), but let’s just say both hold a special place in my heart.  There are very few things that make me feel more alive than being moved to dance by the sounds and words of artists surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people (preferably under bright blue skies) who feel it too.  (Fun Fact:  I followed a band in college – The Assembly of Dust – and wrote a paper about my experience at a concert at Bates College in Maine.  Needless to say, that course was my favorite college class of all time.)

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is the album that defines my “coming of age’”.  I remember jamming out to Doo Wop on my best friend’s bed after a night of mischief in high school and having a late (late) night dance party with that same friend at my bachelorette party 11 years later! 

 dance party

Over dinner Sara, Lisa and I talked about Lauryn Hill’s musical genius.  In 1999, The Miseducation was nominated for 10 Grammys, making her the first female to ever be nominated ten times in one year.  She won five Grammys that year for Best New Artist, Best R&B song, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Album, and Album of the Year.  (source)

Lauryn Hill dropped out of the public eye in 2000; she felt as if she was living in a fantasy world and needed to get back in touch with reality.  Lauryn unveiled this new, raw material for a small crowd at a taping for MTV which became the album MTV Unplugged No. 2.0. 

This album is drastically different than the Miseducation, and I remember listening to it for the first time on my drive to North Carolina the summer of of 2002.  I didn’t quite get it

I wanted to remember the Lauryn that was all glitz and glamour, like at the Bob Marley Tribute Concert. 


It was actually years later that a friend recommended I give Unplugged another listen.   I’m so glad I did.  Unplugged is the album I go to when I’m pondering life or wanting a fresh dose of reality.  It is the album I recommend to friends who are in a rough spot in their life or who to want to appreciate what they have. 

To the show…. Let me start by saying, last night was a freaking blast.  I had a great time with Sara and Lisa.  The dj who opened spun records that I used to jam to 10 years ago.  It was like opening up my high school diary but in musical form.  I do think the sound was bad though.  I had trouble hearing the dj (and later Lauryn).

Once Lauryn did come on stage (recently she is known for being hours late or not even showing up), she was dressed in big, baggy clothes, a big overcoat and a ball cap.  It is obvious she is not dressing to impress like she once did in her former life. 

Lauryn wasn’t the same performer she was when I saw her in back in 1999 in Dallas in front of a sold out amphitheatre.  Given the horrible sound, and what seemed like 12 backup singers, she was also hard to hear.  Bad sound aside, Lauryn played some of the classics including Fue-La-La from the Fugees and Turn Your Lights Down Low from Bob Marley which I greatly enjoyed.  She also played lots of songs from The Miseducation none of which I remember today, because I drank too much cheap wine. 

Lauryn rocked the performance last night.  Though the crowd was small (around 700 or so), I enjoyed the music and company immensely. 

Just writing this review makes me happy.  I know Lauryn Hill has gone through a lot in her life (haven’t we all), but I will always love her music, her style, and her personality.  Even if it’s once every ten years, I’ll be going back for more L-Boogie when she decides to tour next. 

What artists, albums, or concerts are memorable to you?

Be well,



Filed under Tampa Bay

2 responses to “Ms. Lauryn Hill at the Ritz

  1. Sounds like a very neat show! Glad yout got to go with your friends. Brought back good memories too I’m sure. I loved the miseducation album back in the day.

    I haven’t been a lot of concerts, but I remember seeing Ray Charles back in high school and thinking it was pretty cool to see a legend. I also saw SugarLand (yes, I’m a country fan too) a long while ago, and I knew they’d hit it big. A certain song at the right time can totally cheer me up or alter my mood – amazing how powerful music is.

  2. I know this might be giving away the nerd in me, but I would love to read that college paper on your AOD experience. Trying to recount my most memorable concert experiences here would require too much bandwidth, but I will say that the best thing I have heard recently is the new Flaming Lips take on Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album…it’s fantastic an amazing motivator for any run or spin workout (nodnodwinkwink).

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