Lauryn Hill's Moving Target tour lands in Los Angeles: Old-school songs with new-school flavor

Lauryn-Hill-performing

Image Credit: Vallery Jean/FilmMagic.com

Lauryn Hill’s latest tour, Moving Target, finally made its way to Los Angeles on Monday night, following a weekend appearance at the Coachella Festival in Palm Springs.

The singer hit up downtown’s Club Nokia for a healthy dose of songs pulled from several realms of her musical history, including her time with the Fugees, her Grammy-winning album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and even a little tribute to Bob Marley. [Note: The photo shown here isn't of Hill on Monday evening, because press photos were not made available.]

Hill opened her concert—which, despite reports of extreme tardiness in the past, started only about 20 minutes after the scheduled time—by declaring to the crowd: “If it’s okay with you, we’d like to do some classic music.” And classic music she certainly did, launching with her Miseducation hit “Everything Is Everything,” before rolling into Refugee Camp All-Stars’ “Sweetest Thing” and weaving back to Miseducation with “Lost Ones.”

But to be honest, her use of term “classic” should be interpreted loosely, especially when you consider how Hill, wearing an oversized dress and suit jacket, performed the songs. While she certainly sang the lyrics to the aforementioned tunes, they were only recognizable as the songs we’re familiar with at certain, fleeting points. Not that that’s a bad thing—Hill’s voice is still deep and luscious as it ever was but anyone hoping for a tour through the recorded versions of her songs will be sorely disappointed.

Consider, for instance, her version of the Fugees’ 1996 smash “Killing Me Softly” to get a feeling for how she’s interpreting her songs these days:

One fascinating aspect of Hill’s concert was her commentary on stage, especially when the reclusive star talked about her personal life. Before singing Miseducation’s “To Zion,” which is about her oldest son Zion, now 13 years old, she told the crowd: “I keep having these children. I don’t know if I’m the most fertile woman in America.” Later she added, possibly alluding to being pregnant with her sixth child: “I’ve got five big children, can you believe that? … Wait till you hear the big secret, though.”

Other songs in Hill’s set included the Fugee’s “Ready or Not” and “Fu-Gee-La”— she often seemed most comfortable, and relateable, with Fugees material, oddly—and solo tracks like “Doo Wop (That Thing).”

Regardless of the changes she made to her music, seeing Hill perform was a true treat. Just watching her onstage is something like watching a conductor at an orchestra: Hill regularly turned to her band and motioned them to get louder or softer, or to slow down or speed up, by flapping her arms up and down.

And she directed her audience, too: “Put the hump in your back,” she told the dancing crowd on more than one occasion. “Get the hump.” My favorite moment was actually right before she sang “Ready or Not,” where she encouraged everyone to get out their lighters or cell phones— anything that would light up the room a bit. “Be,” she said almost whimsically, “the lights that you are.”

Hill’s Moving Target tour continues for several more dates. Details can be found on her website.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more:
Lauryn Hill announces Moving Target tour: Will you be there?
Lauryn Hill explains why she put her career on hold — and why she might be coming back — in rare interview
Lauryn Hill ‘getting closer’ to releasing new album
Lauryn Hill announces dates for ‘intimate’ tour
Review: ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’

Comments (26 total) Add your comment
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  • itsallgoodnroanoke

    Booooooo I bet you won’t be late now. I won’t come and see you. We know, you need the money, Boooooo!

  • tarc

    Seriously? You got to see Lauren Hill live and you’re companing aboout 20 minutes? Pathetic. Why go at all since it obviously interferres with your precious schedule…

    • Danny

      I was there she WAS NOT 20 min late i dont know what this person is talking about she was 3 HOURS late and she DID NOT SOUND like lauren hill she sounded like a cheap cover, her voice was horrid the arrangement of the songs was horrible she butchered “Lost Ones” and “ex factor” it was kinda sad people were booing..

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  • Go Raise your Tribe

    Really Lauryn?

  • PN

    I think that Lauryn’s reducing the tardiness and lateness of her show starts and it’s exciting to read this review of her live show, even encouraging the band to speed it up or slow it down or go softer or louder. She fit it with her zone and mode.

  • Katie G

    the song ‘Ex-Factor’ from the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album may be the best song of all time. Heartbreaking and beautiful and haunting.

    • Matt

      Definitely one of the greatest — totally agree.

  • Le HIROSHI

    Loved Lauryn Hill. Haven’t listened to hers lately, though.

    - -

    All the best.

  • Danny

    what concert were you at? cuz the APR 20 Club Nokia concert i went to she was NOT 20 min late she was 3 HOURS late! And she SUCKED horrible rendition of classic songs, she sounded horrid, she acted a fool on stage directing the band, it was beyond bad we walked out 3 songs into it as did MANY MANY MANY other people

    • Hector Gondele

      You’re right Danny, at the El Rey she wasn’t fit to perform, and her band overplayed on her vocals in ALL songs. Best butcher job I have seen by the artist of their ownstuff! Christ that cracker Vanilla Ice would have done a better job.

    • What?

      Man, you know you’re lying. You did not spend all that money just to walk out after three songs and MANY, MANY, MANY other didn’t either. Stop with the exaggerations.

  • Hector Gondele

    Miss Lauryn Hill- go back to your retirement. Her mike not working half show, band playing over her ALL show, late, performance not fit for Fugees cover band, let alone headliner. Touring on name brand recognition, More like the Bougies than the Fugees. Todd, you’re right don’t waste the ticket price. You’re Out- this girl is outta here as hit-maker or current recognizable talent! Now just Live Nation ripoff artist.

  • Hector Gondele

    Sorry, I forgot to mention I was talking about last nights show at the El Rey, not her Monday show. Either way good seeing her, bad hearing her.

  • Hector Gondele

    Good to hear she’s pregnant again, that will get her off the stages. Allowing performers fit for the task to take her spotlight away and put her out!

    • What?

      Hector, be quiet. First, you use a racial slur, and now you’re just saying dumb stuff.

  • Fadil

    Just hating….Lauryn Hill ROCKS… Stage problems are somebody else not doing their job – Lauryn Hill is a natural…she can never not sound good…

  • Fediel

    Lauryn Rocks. Most haters DO NOT UNDERSTAND. The media has programmed their minds. Lauryn was GREAT in Charleston SC earlier this year. AMAZING – she added new ageness to the old school songs. That was amazing. The newer versions were on point. I love the comment “Lauryn is natural”. The haters would rather see Niki Manij and Lady Gaga. lol hahahahahaha.
    Lauryn keep doing your thing and Forever Loving Jah.
    Peace and Blessings!

  • Humpty hump

    Saw her in San Diego last night. SO BAD. We’ve been big fans forever but no longer. It was like a lauryn hill clown on meth attempting to do karaoke. The comment about people leaving early is no lie.

    Remember her old concerts and save the $72.00. There is no comparison between then and now. I don’t even think that was Lauryn.

  • tresorparis

    Thanks for interesting blog post. You guys are always provide information that it makes it impossible not to want to buy your next product ;I cant wait to see what you guys come up with based on all your research and data that you gather.

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