A patient crowd cheered for DJ Rampage Saturday in the 30-minute hype session leading up to Ms. Lauryn Hill’s Austin City Limits taping. An hour late, the singer took the stage with a 12-piece band and sat down, guitar in hand, candles flickering beside her. The audience welcomed Hill with wild applause, knowing that this was a rare night, Hill’s performances few and far between.
Hill opened the set with “Conformed to Love” and followed with tracks from her 2002 MTV Unplugged album, such as “I Gotta Find Peace of Mind” and the popular “Mr.Intentional”. She led the band through beautiful, unexpected arrangements, and delighted the audience with “Mystery of Iniquity” before setting her guitar down to transition to the second half of the set. Hill requested lower lights, setting a darker and more intimate mood for her staggering rendition of “Ex-Factor”, teasing the nostalgic fans with a taste from her iconic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Hill moved around the stage, playing with her full skirt while leading the band through an explosive presentation of “Lost Ones” and the Fugees’ “Ready or Not”, a clear crowd favorite. She sang a few Bob Marley covers, including “Jammin’” and “Could You Be Loved”, making the set feel like a party before stunning the audience with a powerful cover of “Feelin’ Good”, from Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone, which came out earlier this year. Hill’s voice proved to be as strong as ever as she sang Simone’s words, confident, unwavering and proud.
Hill’s fans rejoiced with two of the singer’s biggest hits, including the Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly” cover and the set closer, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”. The set might have disappointed a few fans hoping to revisit all their favorite Ms. Lauryn Hill moments, but the singer reemerged with fresh arrangements and the great style we all remember.