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Lauryn Hill @ IndigO2

WELCOME BACK: Lauryn Hill performs at IndigO2

HAVING HEARD about – but never witnessed – some of Lauryn Hill’s well documented poor performances in recent years, it was hard not to fear the worst. Would the US soul star turn up hours late, or disappoint the crowd with more deliveries of poetic wisdom than actual music? Thankfully not.

Looking both sexy and cool in a metallic maxi dress, complete with a casual khaki jacket, Miss Hill was on fire as she delivered one massive hit after another, backed by an impressive band. Reminding fans of why her only solo album, 1998’s The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill remains such a timeless classic, the songstress belted out newly arranged versions of album tracks including Everything Is Everything, To Zion and I Used To Love Him.

In addition to being blown away by her undeniable vocal talent, the audience was also reacquainted with Miss Hill’s emceeing prowess. Firing out the lyrics of Lost Ones as though she were literally spitting out the words, the rapstress built up the energy in London’s IndigO2 to its climax, as the audience joined in with her, roaring out the chorus: “you might win some, but you just lost one!”

The time to swoon came when Miss Hill crooned the beautiful ballads Nothing Even Matters, Ex-Factor and Sweetest Thing, though the latter was given a brilliant live vibe with a rock and reggae twist. And reggae was to play an integral part of the show, with Miss Hill delivering cover versions of Bob Marley’s Satisfy My Soul and Could You Be Loved, as well as her own version of Marley’s Turn Your Lights Down Low. (No surprise, as Hill was in a long term relationship with Marley’s son Rohan, with whom she has five children.)

Comedy came as the singer sang a few lines of an unknown track and a few members of the audience sand along. Laughing, Miss Hill jibed: "That's unreleased music, how you know that song?"

More crowd interaction came as she kindly sang Happy Birthday to an audience member, after hearing that they were celebrating that night. And after a rousing performance of The Fugees classic Ready Or Not, the star realised her dress was slipping down from the top and so repeatedly sang to the tune of Ready or Not, “I’m losing my dress, losing my dress,” whilst covering up her modesty!

Of course, the night wouldn’t have been complete without a host of Fugees classics, and the songstress paid homage to her former band, dropping the hits Killing Me Softly, How Many Mics and Fu-Gee-La.

Closing the show with her up-tempo classic, Doo Wop (That Thing), the singer left the crowd truly delighted with her impressive return to UK shores.

Addressing her absence from the public domain (this was her first UK show in five years), Miss Hill said her hiatus had been for “no particular reason” but said she had returned stronger and “more determined.” It showed. Welcome back Miss Hill.

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