At the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, there was no explanation for the lack of openers, just a DJ who played to a fidgety crowd for two and a half hours. But after the show, Santigold addressed her absence on Twitter:
At the Rose Quater, the crowd thinned during the show's 150 minutes of purgatory. But the loyal fans who remained seemed to shed their ire as soon as the lights dimmed and Hill sauntered onstage.
Decked out in a vibrant yellow organza gown, a jean jacket, and her iconic headwrap, L. Boogie performed a sprinkling of Fugees songs and the entirety of her first and only album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, though some of the songs were remixed to the point of almost being unrecognizable. The sound quality was iffy, but Ms. Hill's voice was completely on point as she expertly executed the vocal runs and riffs on "To Zion" and "Tell Him."
Near the end of the two hour performance, Ms. Hill gave a frank 10-minute soliloquy about her childhood, her musical influences, and the trials of the creative process. "In my process, I sought to create music that had both the inheritance of our deep, deep musical roots and history, and also the bold back and the flavor of our contemporaries," she said. "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is about trying to honor the elders and give respect to the youth." When she ended her speech with a candid, "Happy anniversary, Portland," it felt like a moment of redemption.
When Hill then tore into her last song, "Doo-Wop (That Thing)," the arena's energy levels zoomed up to fiery mania. Hill quickly returned to the stage for an encore, a remix of Drake's "Nice for What," which samples her hit "Ex-Factor."
For her final encore song, Hill performed her legendarily moving rendition of "Killing Me Softly." It was enough to make the show worth the unpredictable wait.