Lauryn Hill @ Celebrity Theatre|11/28/12
"Life out of context is living ungodly," Ms. Lauryn Hill sings in "Black Rage," the new song she's named her 2012 tour after.
Built over a jazzy interpolation of the Sound of Music's "My Favorite Things," the song is heavy, exploring the brutal and checkered history of Black America: "Two-thirds a person," "rapings," "beatings," "victims of violence both psyche and body." It's the centerpiece of her show, an important moment that underscores that Hill has never been into the idea of easy lyricism, and that she isn't afraid to approach uncomfortable, but important, topics. So when she finished the song to a sea of whoops and cheers, she must have wondered if the message was lost on the audience, and a sea of cellphone camera flash. "What did I just say?" she queried.
"Listen," she commanded. Then she recited the lyrics. Sans music, alone at the mic, the spotlight shining down in the darkened round of Celebrity Theatre. "Try if you must," she bellowed, "but you can't have my soul."