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  • Writer's pictureFrances

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill | Manchester Arena Review

Ms Hill is back at Manchester’s Arena for an epic revival of the classic, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Audiences are given a second chance to look back over Hill’s first album, two decades after its original release. The boundary-pushing debut that captivated a devoted following sees the arena abuzz in anticipation for the long-awaited return of the R&B artist.

Before killing us softly with her transfixing tracks, three special guests take to the stage to hype up the audience before officially dropping the house lights. 90s hip-hop artists Digable Planets played it cool as the opening act, followed by gospel musicians Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles. With Hill running late to her own party, DJ Reborn spun a masterful mix of tracks to get the crowd on their feet before the five-time Grammy award winner finally took to the stage. Thankfully, the antidote to leaving audiences waiting 45 minutes is inspirational music, and the spirited songstress did not disappoint with her personal take on the struggles of life and love through music.

New remixes of seasoned favourites play out alongside the beautifully subtle backing of her small band and three backing singers. With an album that has stood the test of time, the subversive artist switches between rapping and singing on the tracks Everything is Everything and Doo Wop with little modernising for the statement-making collection.

After breaking off from the Fugees in 1992, Hill continued to create socially conscious music breaking through as a celebrated solo artist in 1998. Reinterpreting her definitive work 20 years after its release, Hill brings the solo classics to the stage with a moving medley that everyone has been waiting to hear. By skipping the duets, the set runs through the album seamlessly, replacing I Used to Love Him and Nothing Even Matters with an extra Ex-Factor / Nice For What remix and Killing Me Softly with His Song finales.

Due to the concert overrunning the arena lights were switched on to encourage a faster exit, but Hill stayed to give the people the whole bill with some added commentary. It was a special session from the relatable artist who brought two of her children on stage to enjoy a historic moment during her world tour.

Prioritising love, respect and progress, Hill’s moving contribution to music has survived the fast-paced, ever-changing music industry and the changing political climate. As stripped, simple and honest as ever, Forgive Them Father is played alongside the images of police brutality and street protests. For an album that chronicles her younger life experiences Hill understands how relevant she remains and the impact her music has had on so many who continue to struggle.

The resilient artist has sustained an oversaturated market and turbulent career due to her instantly recognisable vocals and inspiring tracks, sampled by a multitude of artists. From Kanye West to Method Man, Drake and Jay-Z, her soulful voice continues to uplift and shape the genre. The thrilling concert offered a clean and authentic retelling of the 20-year classic that her long awaiting audiences were happy to wait a little longer for.

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