Jill Scott LIVE.
Like most people, I was first introduced to Jill Scott via her hit single “A Long Walk,” in 2000. However, that was the extent of my Jill Scott knowledge until the release of 2007’s The Real Thing. I was a senior in high school and my best friend recommended that I listen to it, and I’ve been hooked on Ms. Scott ever since.
Over the years, Jill has released several live concert DVDs and accompanying albums. Truth be told, her live albums usually render their parent studio albums irrelevant. I mean… who wants to listen to the studio version when you can listen to Jill slay the same song live with a full band behind her?
However, my first time seeing her live, in person, was almost exactly two years ago, in July 2015, also at Kings Theatre. Wednesday night’s show was my third time seeing her live, and it was my favorite thus far. Let me tell you why.
Jill Scott Live: LOVE.
One of my favorite things about Jill Scott’s live shows is that will throw in random album tracks that were not hits, not specifically popular and that most casual fans probably won’t know. Yet, she’ll do it anyway. This time, she opened her set with “Be Ready,” a bonus track on her first live album.
From there, Jill bopped her way along through some of her big songs, like “Golden.” This brings me to one of my other favorite things about Jill Scott live: she will always bring you a fresh, new arrangement. This time, “Golden” had a whole lot more horns added. She made it a bit more funktified, and I got my life.
Jill Scott Live: SEX.
It wasn’t long before the show took a turn toward the naughty and nasty, set off by her 2004 classic “Whatever,” from Beautifully Human. She moved through a series of some of her most sensual songs, such as “Crown Royal” from The Real Thing, “Making You Wait” from 2011’s The Light of the Sun and “Can’t Wait” from 2015’s Woman. During “Making You Wait,” which is about making her potential boo wait until the fifth date, she joked, “you think you slick coming in here with them sweatpants on. I CAN SEE IT.” Jill ain’t never lied. We all know about eggplants and sweatpants.
Next, Jill spoke to the straight men (and, I suppose, the gay tops) in the crowd saying, “I can almost guarantee you gon’ get some tonight. You’re welcome! Maybe even on the way home, in the car… Just make sure that on the 5th stroke, you think of me, like ‘Thanks Jill!'” The crowd erupted into applause and laughter, but she wasn’t done. “Crown Royal,” understandably so, was the… well, climax, of the whole movement though.
Jill Scott Live: DICK.
After the lyric in “Crown Royal” where she so gleefully sings, “and you’re so thick, so thick…” she took a moment to pause the song for a quick shout out. She proceeded to shout out “all the big dicks,” giving an impassioned round of applause, yelling for everyone to give it up for all the big dicks. Y’all. I died. Like, actually died. How can you NOT love her? She has zero filter and is just so damn real. Like, yes, girl, let them know how you really feel. Jill has so much class, though, it still manages to somehow feel tactful. Well, almost. She went on to simulate giving oral sex to the microphone and it was hilariously raunchy… and that’s fine. It was glorious. I hope the ladies and the gays took note.
Jill Scott Live: POLITICS.
Jill also took some time to get political, with a performance of “My Petition,” a song from her 2004 album, Beautifully Human. The song is an allegory written to express her grievances to the government back in 2004… the George W. Bush years. Before performing it, she explained that she thought more people would listen if she wrote a love song to the government, and talked about reading the Constitution to add some of the very obvious allusions that exist in the song. While performing it, she played a slideshow of Black men and women who had been killed by police in America. It was emotional to see the faces of these men and women, such as Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and Philando Castile, as she sang this particular song.
Afterward, she launched into another politically charged song, where she sang, “Oh say can you see by the blood in the streets … this is not the land of the free, but the home of the slave.” Finally, she went on to speak further about the topic, touching on immigration and the injustices against Black people in America. She encouraged the audience to work together to make a change, stressing the importance of unity.
Jill Scott Live: VOCALS.
Other highlights of the show were a personal favorite of mine, “Cross My Mind,” which never fails to send me through my feelings, the classic “The Way,” the electrifying “Hate On Me,” and the iconic showcase that is “He Loves Me.” Jill never fails to deliver vocally, and these songs always deliver are some of her best moments.
She closed the show by showing off, as she always does, with her performance of “He Loves Me.” It’s always funny to see people leave early at shows when the artist does a fake-out. The blackout and silence before “He Loves Me” was the second fake-out Jill pulled in her set; but I knew very well that she would be back. Jill simply would not put on a show without slaying perhaps her signature song: “He Loves Me.” And slay she did, hitting operatic high notes, sliding through soulful runs and riffs.
In short, seeing Jill Scott live is wholistic experience. She will send you through all of the feels associated with love and life. She does it with class, brash realness and immense talent. Get your tickets, and get your life.