Prince fans already planning to spend Labor Day weekend at First Avenue for any or all of the three sold-out tribute concerts by his Revolution bandmates might want to plan on spending another night there. Lauryn Hill, who shared a friendship and mutual admiration with the Purple One, has confirmed a date at Minneapolis’s landmark rock club the night after those Revolution shows, Sept. 4, part of a short tour that sounds like the kind of conceptual outing Prince himself would’ve enjoyed.
With sponsorship from Tidal – the Jay Z-affiliated streaming service that Prince used for his music – the former Fugees frontwoman and pioneering hip-hop hero is calling her outing the MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling! Concert Series. She will bring along other artists from throughout the African diaspora to perform at the shows. The concept is based on a festival she hosted in New York in April, which featured performances by Machel Montano (Trinidad), Stephen 'Ragga' Marley (Jamaica), Stonebwoy (Ghana), Mr. Eazi (Nigeria), EL (Ghana), Wondaboy (Nigeria), JoJo Abot (Ghana) and Paul Bearbrun (Haiti).
Tickets for the First Ave show go on sale Friday at noon through eTix.com and First Ave outlets, priced $65. This will be Hill’s third time at the venue following a decade-plus hiatus from touring. Her gigs there in 2011 and 2014 were both late getting started and loose to a fault at times but ultimately very electrifying and inspired, with a killer big band behind her both times.
Hill has performed some of Prince’s songs, including “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “Purple Rain,” in sporadic live appearances in recent months. Tabloid stories after his death suggested Prince helped ensure Hill’s six children were all cared for when she spent three months in federal prison for tax evasion in 2013. She reemerged strong last year leading the pack on the tribute album "Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone." Here's a riveting late-night performance she gave to promote it.