R&B singer Lauryn Hill's reputation as a hit-and-miss live performer precedes her — and, if scores of fans who attended her Sydney show are to be believed, last night was definitely a miss.
Those who attended the show at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena have flooded the event's Facebook page with complaints, some declaring it the worst concert they've ever been to and even requesting refunds.
Former Fugees singer Hill is in Australia on a tour marking 20 years since the release of her classic debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Overseas, she's become infamous for turning up hours late to concerts, cutting her time on stage short as her sets approach strict venue curfews. In November last year, she acknowledged the persistent problem, explaining in a Facebook post that "I don't show up late to shows because I don't care....The challenge is aligning my energy with the time."
After a support set from rapper Nas last night, the punters in Qudos Bank Arena waited. And waited.
"9.50pm and still waiting … this is so disrespectful …" wrote one concertgoer on the event's Facebook page.
"It's now past 10pm and it's DJs playing," wrote another.
Finally, Hill took to the stage at around 10:15pm, and stuck around for a 75-minute, 15-song set filled with hits.
But it seems that wasn't enough to placate fans, who criticised poor sound quality during the show and Hill's apparently sickness-ravaged voice.
Here's a sample of the comments left on Facebook:
"Worst concert ever. Get a refund now. Her voice is terrible. She was 1 hour late."
"Dear Live Nation … What a disaster of a concert you arranged for Lauryn Hill! I've just walked out after 3 inaudible songs including feedback, her mic dropping out & bass so distorted it utterly overwhelmed her voice. All this in the A reserve seats! At 42 I've been to my fair share of concerts and this rates as the worst by a long way. Other attendees were yelling abuse at the sound techs and we left along with many others."
"She was clearly super sick and should have cancelled her show FULL STOP. If I wanted to see back up singers and hear musical coverage over a husky sick voice, I would have gone to the local pub."
"It's def not a good sign when droves of fans are walking out, while you're performing your biggest hit. TBH, I was only there to see NAS, who put on a great performance, albeit some sound difficulties early on, but overall, we all left extremely disappointed."
"Didn't really care she was late, that the sound was a bit meh (is it ever perfect in these arenas) … my biggest concern was her voice was completely gone and she should have cancelled. She kept coughing, was obviously sick and couldn't hit any notes — barely bothered trying. Was a bit rich seeing her giving pointers to her background singers all the time when she sounded so husky and flat … that's my review up to Zion, I walked out then."
Demanding a refund, one punter declared last night the "worst concert" they'd ever been to:
"REFUND REQUIRED: I've never walked out of a concert before. Tonight was a first. Hands down, the worst concert I've ever been to. Lauryn Hill was clearly too ill to perform. She arrived on stage 1.5 hours late and then proceeded to butcher every single song with her failing voice. The sound quality was terrible as they upped the bass and volume of the back-up singers to overcompensate for her poor vocal quality."
News.com.au has approached Hill's Australian touring promoter, Live Nation, for comment.