14th December 2005
It actually happened. After a short DJ set by the same guy who spun for The Fugees when they were in town ten years ago, showman Wyclef Jean stepped on stage to huge applause from his very excited fans, which doubled in volume as Lauryn Hill, Pras, and Hill's huge afro wig followed on. As goose bumps tickled the backs of many necks, the trio wasted no time, launching into many tracks from 'The Score', twisting them into extended remixes each time with the accompanying live band, made up of Lauryn Hill's long term backing singers and Wyclef's right hand man Jerry Wonder.
Hit tracks including 'Ready Or Not', 'Fugee-la', 'Killing Me Softly' and 'No Woman No Cry' were performed alongside more obscure tracks such as the their 1994 debut album's 'Nappy Heads'. Pras performed his biggest hit, 'Ghetto Superstar', whilst solo tracks by Hill were scattered throughout including 'Ex Factor', 'Doo Wop' and 'Lost One', which she addressed to Wyclef all those years ago, and jokingly performed in the same context on the night. 'Clef retaliated with his side of the story, '911' from his second debut album.
After more tracks from 'The Score', an album which switched millions onto the idea of hiphop for the first time, the group laid into their recent reunion track 'Take It Easy', which audience members surprisingly knew the words to. The gig neared its end with 'Cowboys', before the full crowd made their way out of the venue with excitement and appreciation of a stark contrast to Lauryn Hill's reception earlier this year.
During the performance, the chemistry between the two more successful Fugee's was good, whilst Pras spent much of the time standing on the DJ'S platform and saying little. Wyclef put in the most energy, walking around the crowd, chilling in the balcony and climbing speakers. A couple of freestyles and some showing off on the guitar was also thrown into the mix. Jean was almost never off stage, whereas Hill was off and on all the time.
Whilst the sound quality of the venue was pretty awful during much of the show, which consisted of harmonious backing singers, guitar players and percussionists which got lost in distorted noise, the energy and historical element of simply seeing all three group members together again, made up for this entirely. As the European tour goes on, the performances will get stronger, and as the chemistry between the three grows once more, that decade long awaited follow up to 'The Score' sounds more exciting a prospect than ever.