Yeah, What Lauryn Hill Did Was Wack, But Artists Are ALWAYS Late To Concerts » VSB

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Yeah, What Lauryn Hill Did Was Wack, But Artists Are ALWAYS Late To Concerts

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for CBGB


I’ve been to more concerts in my lifetime than I can remember. But I can tell you which were distinctly the best and worst that I’ve attended.

The best was in early 1999, during my senior year of high school. I went to see The Roots at the State Theatre (Now The Fillmore) in Detroit. Black Thought still had his dreads, Questlove was still on the husky side and the band was touring for their latest album, Things Fall Apart, which remains one of my favorite albums of any genre.  

I had no life, so I got to the standing-room-only venue hours before the door opened to secure a good spot up front. During the wait, I met someone who would become a good friend and attend my wedding some 14 years later, along with her friend, on whom I had a fierce crush (Jennifer, if you’re reading, my heart hasn’t quite yet gone on). When the boys hit the stage, they bodied it for some of the most memorable two and a half hours of my life.

The worst concert I ever attended was in 2013 at Chicago’s now-shuttered Congress Theater. My boy Mike scored us tickets to attend Lauryn Hill’s show. What we experienced were overlong, nearly unrecognizable versions of songs from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; “Everything is Everything” was a nearly 20-minute mess that had her singing the hook ad nauseam to the point where I wanted to stab myself in the gullet. (Unless your name is Luther Vandross or Led Zeppelin, you should strongly reconsider stretching out your songs in concert before you actually do it.) Maybe three songs in, we left the theater amid a sea of pissed off concertgoers ready to burn every Fugee-related thing we owned.  

These were two very disparate concert experiences with one common thread: Both acts were late as fuck to get to the stage.

The Roots had us waiting about two hours after the scheduled concert time, which meant I waited about five hours total (which was cool, because Jennifer). But they put on such a memorable show that it didn’t even matter. Hill, on the other hand, was at least two hours late, hitting the stage at about quarter to 11 p.m. on a Wednesday evening, only to put on a shitbox show.  

Social media is dragging her this week for being two hours late to an Atlanta show (which is a little humorous considering Atlanta may as well be the birthplace of CP time), but it’s not just because she was late – it’s because it is Lauryn Hill.

First off, as my experience indicates, she’s been pulling this late shit for years now. Second, the many embarrassingly public bouts of misfortune she either experienced or caused in the years following Miseducation’s release has made the public skeptical about her in general.

Finally, if we’re being real, some folks are probably just a tad salty at her for releasing a pop/R&B classic, only to follow up with an MTV Unplugged album that’s the audio version of popping two Ambien after finishing the Ironman triathlon, and is only noteworthy for inspiring one of Kanye West’s first singles.

However, Hill is definitely not alone on the island of artists who are late as fuck to their own shows. Prominent acts do it all the time.  The Biebs has done it.  Ri-Ri has done it. Keyshia Cole, who has some goddamn nerve showing up late to anything someone is willing to pay her for that’s music related, has also done it.

Here’s the difference: Rihanna puts on a decent show. Justin Bieber can come out and make fart noises in the mic for two hours and Beliebers would go looking for the vinyl of the show. If a beloved artist can come out late and totally body a live show, I think fans will quickly forget that their feet are aching as they slide through a soup of spilled $7 cups of Milwaukee’s Beast and spent roaches.

When Talib Kweli showed up hours late to a concert at the University of Michigan that I’d interviewed him for, it was cool because he was in his prime – between Train of Thought and Quality – and also because college students don’t have shit else better to do than wait. (Calling his cell to ask him what the fuck was taking so long allowed me to meet my college sweetheart and first love, so I was cool with it.)

You can’t essentially disregard your 17-year-old (only) hit album and completely ignore your 20-year-old best album and expect that folks are gonna be all hunky-dory when they’re waiting, only not to get their money’s worth. Hill burned through her goodwill throughout the years, which made her Facebook response all the more infuriating: If you’re getting a fat check to do a thing and you have thousands waiting on you to do that thing, you don’t get to decide when you want to get started doing that thing.

Just the same, If Beyonce showed up three hours late to a concert and wrote her fans some privileged, one-percenter, Jo-Ann Fabrics bullshit like, “I don’t have an on/off switch. I am at my best when I am open, rested, sensitive and liberated to express myself as truthfully as possible,” there would be a mass exodus of sistas getting let go from their jobs that week for showing up late and making the same excuse.

Oddly enough, the second-best concert I ever attended was actually Hill’s Miseducation Tour. OutKast was a dope opening act, and Hill and her background singers bodied Miseducation as well as a bunch of songs that weren’t hers. She still had that “Killing Me Softly” video fineness jumping off, and most importantly…she was on time.

If that Lauryn Hill were two hours late, all would have been forgiven. But that doesn’t excuse any artist for engaging in behavior that shows a fundamental lack of respect for the fans that keep them in Louis Vuitton. If we flame on every artist that makes us wait for a concert like we did Hill, maybe there would be a sea change.

But it probably won’t happen, because we don’t really care. Not if the artist is good enough.

Dustin Seibert

Dustin J. Seibert lifts heavy weights and plays all his video games on hard mode to find peace. He has a better ear for hip-hop than anyone else you know. He writes like the English language is going outta style because the steaks in his freezer are dependent on it.

  • Naaaaaw fukk all of that..I get it that things happen but she is out her mind thinking that my 200 or 100 bucks is on her time…

    Do your job. Show up. And don’t try to sell me no bs.

    I wouldn’t go see her if yall paid me.

  • HouseOfBonnets

    Takes seat and prepares for discussion. :)

    • Kas

      I switched over from my phone to my pc for this.

      • HouseOfBonnets

        You know it lol

  • I saw Jill Scott 3 times.. the 2nd time was at the Shelter in Detroit.. well St. Andrew’s Hall.. we waited 3 hours and she came out talmbout she was eating and smoking… and heads clapped forc that foolery…

    I got a free ticket afterwards to see her with ny5 homeboy but I FLAT OUT refuse to support artists that basically, “Fukk you.”

    • dee

      Wow. Jill Scott!? What you did was totally understandable, I would have done the same.

  • Skegeeaces

    Naaaaw, flag on the play! How is it that other artists’ planets/stars/energy can align to show up their behinds on dang time?! This brother that said “The way the energy flows through his bank account it needs to be replenished.” said it best. LOL!!!

    Ironically, I’ve been to about 10 concerts in my life and they all managed to start on time (rare, I know) and a couple of them even ran later than they were supposed to.


    Beyoncé never late.

    • TheCollinB

      I’m finna check her out tomorrow at the Rose Bowl and watch her get it in with them high ankle support boots she be rockin during her shows.

      • Kas

        I had a chance to see her for free, but it required taking clients. I passed.

  • -h.h.h.-

    were there opening acts?

    what i mean is, are you counting someone as ‘late’ if they have an opening act or not?

    for example, if the roots came late…2 hours late..but had 2 warm up acts…does that really count as late?

    • Dustin John Seibert

      Roots didn’t have an opening act.

  • always right

    But who’s going to see Lauryn Hill in 2016 and not expecting her to be late and the performance to be horrible? I wouldn’t go see her if the tickets were given to me. I’d rather just listen to Miseducation and keep my fond memories of her.

  • IsitFridayyet?

    *Reads post, goes back to listening to Coloring Book .*

    • LKNMRE

      WHAT IS COLORING BOOK! Why are people talking about it!?

      • Dustin John Seibert

        Chance’s new album. I can’t rock with dude.

        • BJenks

          I like Chance and there are some good joints on this new album, buuutt I can completely understand why someone would not be a fan of him.

      • miss t-lee

        An album that just dropped last night and all the hip hop purists are creaming about it on twitter.

    • He keeps sneaking all these gospel shenanigans in his music

      • Cleojonz

        “gospel shenanigans?”
        Are these the shenanigans you speak of?

        • He infuses a lot of gospel music in his songs now.

          • What does it have to be bad that he infuses the Lord?

            • I didn’t say it was bad. I actually enjoy most of it.

        • Jennifer

          Upvoting because this video has been giving me life since last week!

        • miss t-lee

          This has really been my theme song for the past week.

          • Quirlygirly

            Girl, If I could play the video every time they tired to play me this week at this job..I would be fired 12 times over

        • Kas

          That is going straight to my FB page. I’m not even going to warn anyone with NSFW. I’m getting folks fired today.

          • Cleojonz

            I have played it several times this week even though I no longer need to since I know it by heart lol.

      • IsitFridayyet?

        I’m here for it. Anyone who samples anything from Fred Hammond’s Pages of Life is okay with me.

  • Expecting me to understand your creative lateness. GTFOH. And no, I don’t want a damn raincheck. You think I’m giving you a second chance to do me?

    Second half of my peeve? I already waited on you, so stop with that turning the mic to the crowd , now everybody SIINNG boolshid. I paid to get in here! Bidge, YOU sing.

    • ChokeOnThisTea

      I like what you did with bi tch there. Very creative. Noted.

      • Patent free.
        Get down, girl
        go ‘head, get down.

        • Nathaliedholliday3

          “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!nt40etwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k Dollars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 Dollars…Learn. More right Here !nt40e:?:?:???? http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsPagesGetPay-Hour$98…. .??????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!nt40e….,..

      • Kas

        I had a group of female friends that went with the classic biznatch.

  • TheCollinB

    That Miseducation tour was fuego. Outkast was moving into Aquemini but it wasn’t out yet and the stan that I was had me at Sally beauty copping that little turban thingy your grumaw would slap on when she took her stiff wigs off.
    Hill was in god mode on that stage tho. It was all well executed notes and bars.

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