Monday, Nov. 19, 2012
Fox Theater, Oakland
Better than: An actual meltdown.
Lauryn Hill doesn't have the best track record in Oakland. In 2007 she came to the Paramount Theatre with a band that included some of the best jazz musicians in the Bay Area, launched her set two hours behind schedule, and croaked through several unfamiliar arrangements of once-ubiquitous hits. Critics derided the then 32-year-old pop star — who took the stage wearing high heels and a trucker's jacket — as a flop and a “bag lady.” Audience members reported throaty missed notes and a too-conspicuous fall, which Hill attributed to the shoes. When the band embarked for an international tour shortly thereafter, rumors circulated that the erstwhile megastar subjected her crew to rambling soapbox monologues and tempestuous mood swings. She'd become an eccentric at best; at worst, she was an abuser.