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December 20, 2010

Lauryn Hill at Higher Ground: Fail or Fantastic?

LAURYN-HILL-BLOG Would she show up, or wouldn't she? It was the question seemingly on the minds of everyone who dropped $60 to see Lauryn Hill perform last night at Higher Ground. Apparently, Hill, the former Fugees star and and famous flamer-outer, has a history of ditching shows people have paid good money to see. So every ticketholder for last night's show was wondering the same thing — would she, or wouldn't she?

That anyone would spend $60 to see Ms. Lauryn Hill perform songs from her near-anorexic body of work, was mind-blowing to me. Don't get me wrong — The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was a singularly stellar album and provided the soundtrack to my junior year of college. But sister has 14 songs to her name, not including those penned with the Fugees, and hasn't released an album since 2002's MTV Unplugged No. 2.0. So $60 is a bit rich for my blood, on principle. But maybe I'm just a cheapskate. 

Bucking speculation that she would be a no-show, Hill played Higher Ground just like her people promised she would. Granted, she went on at 11:30 p.m. — an hour and a half after she was supposed to hit the stage. Some people got so fed up with waiting, they demanded refunds from Higher Ground. And, according to a Higher Ground employee, they did give a "handful" of refunds due to the high cost of the ticket and the fact that the show was on a Sunday night, as opposed to a non-school/work night. 

So what I'm wondering, fair readers, is this: How was the show? Was it worth the 60 shekels? Did she blow you away? Did she live up to the hype? Were the back-up singers the best part of the night? If you wouldn't spend $60 to see Lauryn Hill, who would you spend that much, or more, to see? Lady Gaga? Insane Clown Posse? Nelson? Let us know below. 


Paying $60 for a show that starts 90 minutes late is like prostitution: in both cases you are paying to get screwed.

Nice review

I loved it! I was def frustrated that it started late (and was a rough start at that), but it turned out to be a fantastic show. She performed for 1.5+ hours straight and built energy as the show went on.

She sang most of her Miseducation songs as well as gave us all some Fugee love. But for people who only knew/loved the "KillingMeSoftlyEx-FactorDooWop" Lauryn Hill, they were likely disappointed because a lot of the show was her rapping (and showed that she continues to be one of the best female rappers alive).

The true hero of the night was DJ A-Dog who stretched his set to 2.5 hrs which kept the angry mass from revolting.

We even got to see a touch of the crazy Lauryn.

All in all, I am glad I didn't miss it and was amazing to see one of the best perform.

Wu is tomorrow night. Tickets are $40.

And guess how many albums they have put together, as a group AND individually...


Sounds like this guy didn't like it:

The show was set to start at 9 on a Sunday after changing the day three times. An hour before the show HG posted a facebook post saying Lauryn might not show up right at 9 but don't worry, Adog will be spinning. (don't get me wrong I love Adog and go to see him often at Red Square... although that's $5, not $60). I got my money back at 11:40, so she definitley was not on at 11:30. Love you Ms. Hill but have some repect and maybe learn a few customer service skills as we are the generation who bought your one hit album so you could feed those 4 kids the past ten years.

"So $60 is a bit rich for my blood, on principal."

In this context, you mean "principle."

D'oh! I missed the principal. I'm fixing it.
-- the ed.

Mea culpa for the homophone typo. Thank goodness for citizen proofreaders.

Sadly, I think it would have been more entertaining to light my $60 on fire.

By the time she finally got on stage around 11:30/11:45, she'd already lost me, and it was going to take a lot more than a mediocre performance to get me back. Sometime around 12:20am, she played a string of higher-energy songs that sounded great, but I was already exhausted, annoyed and over it.

Higher Ground is such a great venue, and from the very beginning of the madness (swapping show dates, tickets going up/coming down), they did everything they could to keep show-goers informed and happy. My problem is definitely not with the venue -- it's with the disrespect paid to ticket holders by the performer.

The only bright spot of the evening was A-Dog. He had to keep an increasingly surly crowd entertained, and he did a great job. I'm much more likely to support his future efforts than Miss Lauryn Hill's.

I was obviously irritated by the late stage arrival, but I've experienced it so many times that it doesn't even surprise me anymore. My real frustration was with the painfully loud volume. They must have given out hundreds ear plugs! I don't know who was to blame, Ms. Hill or the audio crew at HG, but loud, way too loud.


Who said I'm anti-gay?

Was anyone really expecting a great show from a washed up one hit wonder burn out? $60? Please. Did the people going think she'd roll out her new hits, just for the HG fans? Sunday night shows, $60, a washed up star, so. Burlington Vt, this show had the makings of a disaster from the start.

Not going to pay $60 bucks to see her whine anywhere, and didn't. She had a few nice jams on TMOLH, but we all know her best work was with the Fugees, nuff said. Now about HG, I've been to Higher Ground several times, in the crowd after paying too much for a ticket and as a performer on stage. The sound is horrible every time. Too loud, too boomy, too distorted. HG, do us a favor and get some time-aligned side fills, turn down the big stacks, and add some acoustic treatment to that giant space, it sounds like the Memorial Auditorium in there.

Hey there - just please let it be known - that we at Higher Ground had such a difficult time dealing with this - Lauryn's crew brought in their entire own PA and had their own engineers - which was totally unnecessary as we have a proper high end PA in-house that they could have used - but Lauryn chose not to. Other venues she plays will suffer the same fate unfortunately. It was too loud because they brought their own subwoofers - in addition to ours that are more than adequate to run any show - just ask the Wu-Tang Clan who had a great performance last night on all of our house gear. It was distorted because Higher Ground engineers - who weren't allowed to run the sound - and know the room better than any traveling engineer - were forced to allow Ms. Hill's crew to make the room sound as she requested. Therefore as a result there were some refunds given back and plenty of earplugs handed out, as well as a plethora of complaints, not only from concert attendees but neighbors as well.

Believe me - we aren't in the business of providing a negative audio, visual, or overall bad experience to the concert goer or else we wouldn't have been here for 12+ years already. This show had their crew taking over the room, we felt initially that it was a prominent play for the room and a marquee talent to have under our belt. Unfortunately it didn't turn out this way and we regret any negative experience that any ticket holder may have gotten as a result. All of this extra PA gear and unnecessary supplication to the audio gear was at their request and at their expense. These are things that are out of our control, and certain acts can do this action properly, but unfortunately, some acts don't do it so well. We've proven ourselves over the years to provide a great experience for the artist and fan in all facets, this night was one that we aren't so proud of and have to answer to even though it wasn't our deal.

As far as the previous comment goes - it's just not true that the sound is horrible every time - that's an unfair and and unjustified comment from someone who has no backing to say such a thing. The PA is time aligned, side fills have NOTHING to do with what the fans are hearing, and as far as a "giant" space - our 750 capacity is hardly what the 2750 at the Memorial Auditorium is. The comparison is ludicrous to say the least, and anyone who has been to both rooms can obviously agree. 99% of the bands have a great experience sound-wise in our rooms, and I'd love to know which band you played with that had a bad one, because if that is the case I'm sure there is some explanation to justify why you had a bad time on stage, 9 times out of 10 it is the band's own gear, because we are only here to serve the talent - please ask the Black Crowes, Trey Anastasio, The Wu-Tang Clan, or countless other acts who name our venue as one of their favorite venues to play across the entire country.

I think James is a kook, I've seen many bands at the higher ground forum, both rooms, can't think of one where I thought the sound was bad. I love Higher Ground and am so glad we have such a good club. And many of the bands have just gushed on stage at how much they love playing there, everyone has thanked HG for the experience. Course I don't see much rap music.

Lauryn Hill was staying at the hotel i work at for this show...i have met very many rude and cruel people working here, but none more than her and the people she was traveling with. After talking to their bus driver, he told me he was embarrassed to be traveling with them, as after our staff helped them unload bags for an hour, they were tipped $0, and were extreeemely rude to everybody...sorry Ms. Hill, but please don't come back.

tickets for her other shows this tour are getting $75 to almost $300 in stadiums and much larger venues than Higher Ground. Sounds like the HG show was a bargain! ;)

She was awful - truly awful! The late start, horribly inaudible sound, and general disregard for her audience was astounding. I don't blame Higher Ground for any of it - just myself for being stupid in dropping 60 bucks to see this embarrassment of show. Could have just stayed and listened to Miseducation of my turntable... Ugh!!!

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