Listen to any Jill Scott song it’s easy to pick up on a sense of confidence, positivity and sexiness. An upbeat vibe that lets you know right away that you are listening to a woman who knows herself, knows her body and knows what she wants. All of this was on full display on Wednesday night at the Hollywood Bowl where Miss Scott held court like queen she has always presented herself to be.
Before you could fully take in the songstress in her all of her curvaceous glory, she was halfway through “Golden,” a classic R&B jam from her second album “Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds vol. 2”. Nimbly switching back and forth between older and current hits, the entire set was a swift hour and half and she only left the stage once, briefly, possibly to refresh the glass of red wine she kept on the stage throughout the show.
Jill Scott loves a live show
Her singing voice was crisp and warm as ever and her banter in between songs was funny, sexy (there was a shout out to ‘all the big dicks’) and even poignant at times. Scott is a performer who understands what a live show should be, which is a unique experience that shouldn’t replicate what you hear on the recorded track, but amplify it. You don’t go to a Jill Scott show to hear the album version of a song, you go for the ‘Wednesday night at the Hollywood Bowl’ version, or whatever variation thereof. She doesn’t simply do a live interpretation of the song with spontaneous ad-libs, she completely changes the melody and cadence of nearly every track, but you’re still singing along and enjoying the ride. You really don’t have a choice. One of many highlights was her mash up of “I’m Making You Wait” and “Crown Royal on Ice” that included simulated fellatio on the microphone and a crotch fan. I promise it’s all much classier than it sounds.
Her exuberance and positivity is too infectious to be resisted. After her brief exit she returned to stage with the most solemn, yet beautiful, part of the night. She performed “My Petition” which she described as a love song to the government, but it’s not the kind of love song you sing to someone in the honeymoon phase. With lyrics like “You say you mean good for me, but you don’t do it. You say you have a plan but you just don’t go through with it” it’s clear she’s frustrated with her ‘lover’ Uncle Sam. The backdrop during the performance consisted of photos of people of color who were victims of police violence. Without mentioning the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter or #Charlottesville she managed to capture the frustration of the current political climate succinctly without tarnishing the mood, a feat in and of itself.
Scott quickly rebounded back to the joyful vibe of the opening and closed it out with fan favorite “It’s Love” from her debut album “Who Is Jill Scott?: Words & Sounds vol. 1”. After a night of affirming positivity and some fun surprises, (opening band The Robert Glasper Experiment brought out special guests Ledisi and Lupe Fiasco), it was only fitting to have the audience humming lyrics about spreading love all over your soul food as they danced out to the parking lot.