If you ever attend a Jill Scott show expecting to hear her sing songs exactly as they are on her albums, you will always be disappointed.
Every. Single. Time.
And that is one of the main reasons I continue to pay to see Jilly from Philly – I’m guaranteed a new and highly entertaining show no matter the city or venue.
Her performance at Mountain View Winery in Saratoga, CA last week just so happened to fall on the one day I consider more important than the other 364 days of the year.
On June 24, Jill Scott showed up, showed out and gave a performance that I consider her best concert I’ve ever witnessed.
And that’s saying much because I’ve been to more than 10 Jill Scott concerts.
My experience with seeing and hearing Jill live began on July 27, 2001 at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA. From there I’ve seen her many times in Oakland, San Francisco and Concord, CA.
I’ve traveled cross country (twice) to New Jersey, but last Tuesday, I felt something special in the air.
Besides being the day I was born, the energy flowing from the stage was hypnotizing and spiritual. Maybe turning a year older opened up some senses I never had or long forgot about.
All I know is that, simply put, this show was strictly for grown ass folks.
That was very clear during the highly-energetic opening of Gimme. “Let me sock it to you like a grown woman can,” said Jill, who placing much emphasis on “grown,” looked absolutely FABULOUS in what appeared to be a black skirt, decorative black and white three-quarter’s sleeved shirt and VERY high-heeled black peep-toed shoes.
Moving back and forth across the stage, she owned every inch of the space.
“Ladies and gentlemen, live music in the house tonight! Is that alright?” she exclaimed before launching into The Way. Obviously a major fan favorite, she sang us through the first verse and ended the song with words of wisdom for the ladies, “It’s alright to be nice and say thank you for being good to me.”
From the saxophonist (who just happened to be Mike Phillips, a former label mate of Jill’s, who has released three albums of his own), to the drummer to the guitarist, trumpeter and on, it is apparent that Jill has assembled a team of outstanding, high-quality musicians who are great at showcasing the pure elements of a live show.
The backup singers (aptly called “The Pipes”) had a New Edition-esque vibe with their choreographed dance routines – at one point, during It’s Love two of the singers broke into the Kid N’ Play.
At another point of the show, she remarked, “Live music makes you live on forever!” The way she revamped and reworked Crown Royal made her comment all the more poignant. Jill, the actress, went into full effect while reenacting Crown Royal’s lyrics. Talking to her, ahem, lower region, “Put it on ice. Didn’t I tell you to behave yourself? Stop talking to me!”
During the second verse of Hate On Me, the lyrics changed to, “Somebody mad at your blessings. Pissed off cause somebody loves you. Somebody mad at the way you’re dressing. Pissed off cause you got a little more money for ya. Somebody mad . . . I love you anyway baby!
“I’m putting on my invisible shield; walking into the belly of the beast. Smiling as I go. Telling everybody ‘Yo, what’s up? You feel good? I hope you do!’ Can’t nobody stop you. Every single blessing that’s yours – it’s yours, it’s yours, it’s yours, it’s yours! Can’t nobody do a thing about it.”
As I wrote some months ago, on my wish list for 2014 was a new Jill Scott album, and she blessed the audience with not one, but three new joints.
The first was about being free to get herself together for what’s coming; the second focused on being shattered, but a man coming along and putting her back together; and the third had a straight up, back in the American Bandstand day’s type of feel. Part of the lyrics: “Bobby don’t love nobody but me!”
This show helped me realize why I love and have seen Jill live so many times – she intently sings the meaning behind each and every word. When she says, “I’m more than a toy for your satisfaction,” or “Tired of being strong all day,” you BELIEVE her.
It’s obvious when she’s on stage that Jill intends to give the audience everything she has – and then some.
I definitely made the right decision to celebrate my birthday with Ms. Scott. She gave me something to remember for years to come.
Setlist: Gimme, The Way, So In Love, Rolling Hills, It’s Love, Crown Royal, The Real Thing, A Long Walk, Le BOOM Vent Suite, I Think It’s Better, Cross My Mind, Hate On Me, Golden, Blessed, He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat).