This past weekend at the United Center, something truly special went down: Ms. Lauryn Hill made her way to Chicago ready to stun. And stun she did as her set, followed immediately by another alongside Wycelf Jean and Pras Michel for a Fugees reunion, was easily one of the best sets of the year.
A week prior, Hill had to postpone one of her shows to let her voice rest. That definitely loomed over the night but thankfully Hill was able to get through and deliver an amazing performance. Her set consisted of the majority of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, giving her sole studio album ample room to breathe during the first half of the night. Now celebrating its 25 anniversary, the album is as powerful and soulful as ever, really showing just how enduring a classic it is.
Toward the end of her set, Hill introduced her son YG Marley to the crowd and even performed with him as he found himself performing out in the crowd. Hill also spoke with the crowd about her inspiration and goals for her music. There was no denying the connection she had worth the crowd as she expressed wanting to make music for everyone. What followed was likely one of the more mind-blowing moments of the night with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” closing out her solo set.
But the party was just beginning as the second half of the night would see Lauryn Hill joined by her fellow Fugees Wycelf Jean and Pras Michel. To say that seeing the trio together again was astounding would be an understatement. What once seemed like an impossibility was made all the more grand by their riveting stage presence. The three artists haven’t lost a step and their chemistry together is unparalleled.
Performing selections from their two albums Blunted on Reality and The Score (both of which land on the same echelon as Hill’s Miseducation) and a few choice solo tracks, the Fugees had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Every track felt like a bonafide jam, Songs that have been living inside our heads for decades finally got the live treatment with all the passion they required. Lauryn Hill , Wycelf Jean, and Pras Michel were all in top form, giving the very lucky crowd a show they won’t soon forget.
All photos by Julian Ramirez