I have been waiting about eight years to see Jill Scott perform live. A plethora of illnesses, being out of the country, and having to wash my hair had prevented me from seeing her sooner. Like folklore, for years I’ve heard whispers of her sheer singing class and exceptional shows. My Expectations were monumental, did I mentioned I have been waiting nearly a decade to see her?
I think it were these super expectations that left me sadly a little underwhelmed by the end of the night. For me the show was a mixture of peaks and troughs; when it peaked it was like flying Concorde over the Andes… but when it troughed I was reaching for a cup of Ovaltine with a huge yawn.
The show started with a bang, Shame was full of fire, and the live version of Hate On Me made its studio recorded counterpart sound flaccid. The brass in the latter seemingly booming around the packed Brixton Academy. Is It The Way early on, showed that slow music can be just as exciting as it is sweet.
That was the problem some songs were so fantastic only to be followed up by lacklustre performances which seemed like Jill was just going through the motions. Jill knows she is one of the foremost soul performers of her generation, and I think this security has led to her not throwing her heart and soul into everything. Unfortunately, Slowly Surely (my favourite Jill Scott record) was one such moment. It sounded great, note perfect, it just lacked a little zeal.
That was the ebb and flow of the concert; So In Love With You had me flying… Le BOOM Vent Suite had me checking the in-flight entertainment for a re-run of Worzel Gummage. Blessed felt like I was on stage with her, during Quick I took a little nap!
I need to be clear though, even the songs I found boring were technically far superior to many I have seen. It was just some of them lacked spirit. If she could have bottled the passion shown during her poem about being more than an Ass and sprinkled it over the entire set it would have been magical.
Would I see Jill Scott again? Yes, I would because I think I caught her on a bad night (we all have them) which is why it was a little hit and bore.