Dear Ms. Lauryn Hill...
Thank you. I want to start there. As a matter of fact, I think it's important I start there. You're one of the dopest MCs to ever grace hip-hop and I remember feeling inspired to sing because you made alto singing popular. You blessed us with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and for this we are forever grateful.
So now, here we are in 2016 and I'm crossing off an item on my bucket list because I've just witnessed your concert at Chastain Park in Atlanta, GA. The park was filled with those like myself who respect and adore you. With that being said, Lauryn, I need to ask why you would make us wait 2 hours and 35 minutes for this moment with you? I'd hope you would respect your fans and supporters-who are still fervent after 15+ years and just 1 studio album-more than this. This was a commitment you made, this was your word. Our time and money is valuable, and I'm sure you would agree that like any relationship, respect should be the reciprocal gift that keeps on giving.
Moving forward, with no apology or acknowledgement, you jumped right into "Perfect Peace." You are still beautifully talented and your voice is as I remember it...mostly. This was your opportunity to make-up for your tardiness. As a fellow alto, I noticed you struggled with mid-range notes. Your stage presence and energy, or lack thereof, was low-level from the start and I think we all expected more from you. As for the choice of opening, we like "Perfect Peace," but we were all waiting for one of your songs that gave us that nostalgic feeling. We wanted Miseducation in motion. You gave it to us 2 songs later, but the music paced faster than we remember the lyrics moving, making it hard to recognize anything. We couldn't sing along. This was your chance to make us feel like family again. It didn't happen. Not helping matters, we couldn't see you well. The stage lighting was poor; we couldn't catch true glimpses of you and the creative power your dancers brought to your performance. Even the screens weren't very clear due to the dimness after 10pm. I'd do you a disservice by dismissing these things Lauryn, but in fairness, amidst the boo-ing from my peers, I should tell you what you got right.
As an independent artist, your production was exceptional. Your band delivered!! I commend your ability to find and recognize talent that is truly outstanding. I don't want to breeze by that lightly, because I know they are a reflection of you and I need to thank you for that. The atmospheric lights that projected into the theatre brought elements that we fans needed. It felt warm, uplifting and it kept the crowd engaged...as much as could be done. Finally Lauryn, about 30 minutes into your set, the venue operators cut your microphone off (there's a strict noise ordinance at 11pm) and as much as I love you, I think it was best. When I returned home from Chastain, I showered to The Miseducation. I needed to remember the Lauryn and the artistry we all knew. The person I saw was essentially still Lauryn, but without the heart, respect, nobility and love for what she does.
Nostalgically Disappointed, but Still Yours Truly