Ms. Lauryn Hill

Notoriously reclusive for most of the dozen years since the release of her multiple-Grammy-winning blockbuster The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, . Ms. Lauryn Hill (as she prefers to be called these days) has been easing out of the shadows with a few festival appearances and now a full-fledged tour. She's rarely been heard from since 2001's starkly ragged MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, but long-simmering rumors of a new album again heated up as she assembled an 11-piece band for this tour that focuses on both Fugees tracks and her solo material. Some reportedly has been radically rearranged to the point of being virtually unrecognizable, while the aggressive band's approach has been variously characterized as "space metal" and "free jazz." Hill also has been consistently and unapologetically late for performances, reportedly arriving on stage as many as four hours past show time. That said, initially disgruntled crowds have joined in on enthusiastic sing-alongs of tunes like "Fu-Gee-La" and "Doo Wop (That Thing)," while the critical consensus seems to be that the performances, once underway, have been fierce and uncompromising.
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Rick Mason