Who is Jill Scott? She has consistently given us quality soul that is real, and that represents who she is and where she is! Two CDs this summer--I love them both- and with this in mind, was sooooo excited and looking forward to this gig. The DJ support works the crowd beforehand with a strong Hip-Hop set, and he prepares the audience for Jill Scott, calling her the “Queen of Soul.” I say to myself, “what about Aretha!?”
Jill starts the set with “Shame” from current CD, LIGHT OF THE SUN, and from the first note Jill shows that she is in charge, and truly is the magnificent. She has an all male band dressed in black, and she adds some colour to the proceedings with her striped leggings. Keeping things upbeat, we have “Give Me” and “Hate on Me”. The proceedings move quite quickly at this stage, as it feels like Jill is in warm up mode. “The Way” follows and the audience seem to know the way and in fine voice are singing along with it, which makes Jill very happy. “Quick” is somewhat theatrically and effectively extended--to a not-so-quick song, and “the Real Thing” keeps things moving along nicely. Joined by her backing singer, we are treated to some grown folks music with “So in Love.”
It seems, at this stage, like Jill is on a mission to sing her whole songbook; there is a pace and intensity to the proceedings. You realise that each song, so far, is one of her best, and the audience are suitably appreciative. I think this cannot get any better. And then she treats us to outstanding performances of “Le Boom Vent Suite” and a firm favourite for audiences of “Slowly Surely.” Rapturous applause greets the opening bars of “It’s Love,” and by the end of the performance of this song I want it on my collard greens; I want it on candy sweet! I want it on my biscuits, baby, with gravy … and Jill is really on FIRE! The poetry of “Womanifesto” is given a Jazz Funk reading and, by this point, we all know that Ms Scott is so much more than “an ass!”
As on the CD, this takes us to the jazz influenced “Rolling Hills.” Jill could leave the stage now, and it would be worth it. Thankfully she doesn’t. She stays and takes us into the sexiest part of the show by telling us about her conversation with a less than enthusiastic air stewardess whom she has to tell, “Love is Food, but sex is medicine, and baby, you need a fix.” We are given a virtually orgasmic fix with “Come See Me” and “Cross My Mind” as the foreplay. “So Gone (What My Mind Says)” keeps it so good that we don’t want it to end. “Crown Royal” took us to the climax of this very sexy workout. (The girl behind me was clearly feeling this section of the gig!) “A Long Walk” and “Golden” concluded this stage of the proceedings, and Jill and the band left the stage for the first time.
Thankfully, they returned to give us more with an encore consisting of “When I wake Up” and then a full introduction to the band. Her rendition of “He Loves Me” takes on a new direction each time I see her perform it. This evening her moving operatic reading was beyond absolutely remarkable and breathtaking! “Divalicious!” She wooed me; she courted me; she teased me, and ultimately she pleased me and left me with so much to think about! This performance was TRULY OUTSTANDING!! We are truly blessed by what we have witnessed this evening, just to be in her presence, and she follows this with “Blessed”. I had doubts at the start, as the support DJ anointed her the “Queen of Soul.” It is truly deserved in my opinion. The audience and I are clearly blown away and we are ready to leave, immensely happy. Jill returns to the stage again and offers the bonus treat of “And I heard” with the infectious chorus - asking, “Do you understand what you feel inside?” This is an extra gift from a beautifully human performer. Gig of the year!!
About the Writer
Terry Joe is a London-based has led bands as a vocalist, releasing cds and regularly performing. His favourite artists include Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Ledisi, Nathan Haines, Me'shell NdegeOcello and many more.