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Lauryn Hill & The Misunderstanding of Memphis Fans

  • Written by Ashley Grandberry-Special to The New Tri-State Defender
lauryn hill
Hundreds of Memphis-area residents were incredibly eager and excited about attending the sold-out concert of living legend Lauryn Hill last Saturday (July 18th) at Minglewood Hall in Midtown. Although she has but one solo album under her belt, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” is such a magnificent body of work that 16 years later it still is more significant than most of the contributions by today’s artists.
 
True artists withstand the test of time. Embracing that thought, I was one of the many fans who were beyond thrilled to learn that Lauryn was making a comeback and – more importantly – putting Memphis on her tour. Perhaps it was our eagerness and excitement that contributed to the disappointment, but none of us could have anticipated that the night would be such a letdown.
Fans arrived early because all tickets were the same price and it was understood that there would be general admission. So the earlier you arrived, the closer you’d possibly be to Lauryn Hill. Many who purchased tickets in advance were under the impression that the concert was to begin at 8 p.m. Those who picked up their tickets at will call received tickets that said 9 p.m. was the starting time.
lauryn hill
Early birds such as myself arrived a little before 7 p.m. and earned a pretty good position in line. The staff at Minglewood opened the doors around 8:15. As concertgoers were let into the entertainment space we all learned that we’d be standing during the duration of the event. There were no chairs for the weary and little did we know that soon enough we would become quite weary.
 
No one was on stage when we entered the entertainment space and no music played until about 8:30. Eventually a hype man took the stage and introduced the opening act, The ReMINDers. Many of us hadn’t heard of this dynamic hip-hop duo, but after this night we probably won’t forget them. They were the best part of the night, with eclectic beats, incredible energy and awesome stage presence.
 
The ReMINDers actually are the reason why a swell of patrons weren’t demanding a refund at the box office. The multi-faceted married combo took the stage around 8:45 and kept us entertained for over an hour with music that educated and reinvigorated weary women standing in uncomfortable shoes and impatient men who had grown tired of waiting for Lauryn to arrive.
 
After The ReMINDers left the stage around 9:40, we all were expecting the night’s star to finally grace us with her presence. From the span of about 9:45 until 11, fans mingled, danced to the tunes of various DJ’s, chanted “we want Lauryn” and even received campaign literature from none other than television’s Judge Joe Brown.
 
With fans disillusioned and disgruntled, Hill made a grand entrance onto the stage after her musicians and backup dancers about 11:10 p.m. We all hoped she’d knock our socks off and make us forget that we hadn’t really been entertained in almost two hours – and that we’d been standing up for almost five hours.  
 
Unfortunately, the performance was not what we’d expected. Hill’s vocals were less than perfect and she sang unfamiliar renditions of her hits. Throughout her performance she constantly motioned to her band to play louder or bring up the music – things that should’ve been perfected before she even went on tour. The crowd became more lethargic and started to diminish with each song.
 
As I left, I heard the displeasure of many concertgoers who had strong feelings about the venue accommodations and about how unprofessional Hill seemed to be.
 
The thing about fans is that when we are treated fairly we are quite loyal, and when we are upset we are extremely angry. I certainly hope Ms. Hill doesn’t treat fans in other cities the way that we were treated because I’m quite sure we Memphians won’t be as excited if she comes to town again. 
 

Comments   

 
-1 #18 MsEducated 2014-07-30 10:38
Its no one's fault that unprepared people showed up in 6in heels and want to complain about the venue because they were uncomfortable. That's silly and no one else's fault but their own.
So the people who wore flats are are frequent patrons of Minglewood are ignorant for being unhappy as well. I think you are quite defensive to not be on anyone's payroll. Furthermore I'm sure you would complain if you weren't simply giddy over Lauryn. This comment was ignorant hands down.
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+1 #17 MsEducated 2014-07-30 10:33
Quoting Danette:
If I wanted to hear the songs like the CD then I could've stayed home. The reggae twist made them more artistic imo.
I waited three hours for Maxwell and Outkast and no one said a word. It was about an hour between her and the opening act but the DJ held it down in the interim.

- Outkast did not have a huge section of open music without any crowd entertainment and neither did maxwell. I am a lover of art however lets not excuse Ms. Hill
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+1 #16 MsEducated 2014-07-30 10:32
Great article. While I do think that fans are very defensive of their favorite artist, I must say that this article does not stray away from the reputation that Lauryn has worldwide. Real fans know the history of her issue with her label but that does not excuse her being late. she did give a sub par performance. the article clearly points out the perspective of a concert attendee. I was unhappy with the performance and it had nothing to do with the renditions.
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+6 #15 Derica 2014-07-25 19:42
The writer didn't say that the renditions were horrible, she just said unfamiliar, can you all not read? Also majority of the crowd wasn't pleased with the layover between the Reminders and Hill finally making an appearance, like that one instance where the DJ left that awful techno track on for an extended amount of time. Honey whether you're a fan or not, that concert could've been much better!
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-3 #14 Danette 2014-07-25 17:07
If I wanted to hear the songs like the CD then I could've stayed home. The reggae twist made them more artistic imo.
I waited three hours for Maxwell and Outkast and no one said a word. It was about an hour between her and the opening act but the DJ held it down in the interim.
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+5 #13 Angel 2014-07-25 14:34
Regardless if it was clearly stated that there was standing room only the venue should've made accommodations for such a long duration and there were people who wore flats were tired as well. Anyone who stands for hours at a time and has lagged times between only two performers will get weary and tired. Too often we make concessions for celebrities but their fans are people too. There is NO justification for her being late!
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+3 #12 Stacy 2014-07-25 12:37
That's very disappointing.. .she must remember that her fans are the ones who have kept her relevant. SHe has not made an album in years...She's my girl, but come on now Lauryn. and Come on now Minglewood Hall! No damn chairs! was disappointed that I didn't make it but now, maybe its for the best!
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-5 #11 Selyna Buie 2014-07-25 10:54
The only whack thing I could think of is the fact that I was in a room full of the most boring individuals in the universe. The crowd was awful, standing around, not clapping, tweeting, texting, facebooking, and complaining. Now that's something to blog about....
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-1 #10 Selyna Buie 2014-07-25 10:51
Secondly, Lauryn Hill sang all of her classic songs and NO they were not a carbon copy of what was on her album 16yrs ago. An artist should have the right to change up their work and evolve into whatever they want to be. People are so closed minded and then have the never to talk about loyalty as if someone owes them something. Its sad. I drove from Arkansas to see Hill and I loved every moment. The band needed work. But I enjoyed the music, I danced (all night) and i sang along to EVERY tune.
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0 #9 Selyna Buie 2014-07-25 10:44
I think several people who have complaints are just slightly ingorant about the dynamic of a concert. First, if the folks in memphis READ what was on the wesbite they would have known, there was an opening act @ 9 and that their would be standing room only. Its no one's fault that unprepared people showed up in 6in heels and want to complain about the venue because they were uncomfortable. That's silly and no one else's fault but their own.
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-1 #8 genia29 2014-07-25 10:11
the article is 50% true the venue's website clearly said standing room only and that the doors would open at 8p. I read reviews on social media before I decided to purchase my ticket b/c I had heard yrs ago that Ms. Hill is always late. Most of the true complaints are stilled from being misinformed.leg al battles w/ the label hinders the familiar rendition of songs. Im not a fan MisEducation put with punk rock music but the overall show was great. sober & voice was up to par.
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-2 #7 genia29 2014-07-25 10:09
the article is 50% the venue's website clearly said standing room only and that the doors would open at 8p. I read reviews on social media before I decided to purchase my ticket b/c I had heard yrs ago that Ms. Hill is always late. Most of the true complaints are stilled from being misinformed.leg al battles w/ the label hinders the familiar rendition of songs. Im not a fan MisEducation put with punk rock music but the overall show was great. sober & voice was up to par.
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