On Saturday night, Jill Scott sang at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md. About midway up the center seating area stood a little boy. He wore a white undershirt and white basketball shorts, and he was with his mother, a petite woman in a green dress. The boy couldn’t have been more than 8—-though I would guess that he was 7.
He was loving Scott. As soon as she opened her mouth, he was standing up, rocking to the beat. His finger waved above his head. His arms pounded the air. Every once in a while, he’d turn and sing a lyric to his mother, who mouthed the music back to him. Except for one time. In this instance, she gestured for him to go into the aisle and sprayed him up and down with bug repellent.
But that was the only noteworthy pause of musical bliss.
That boy was a gold-star concertgoer. He made sure every penny spent on his ticket was worth it. Come to think of it, he probably couldn’t even see Scott. There was a pack of guys standing up in front of him most of the time.
No doubt about it, this adorable little mini-fan was feeling what most others in the audience revealed with slightly less enthusiasm: Man, Jill—-she’s damn good.
You get the sense that Scott treats a crowd of 40 no different than a crowd of 4,000. She laughs. She curses. She instructs. She informs: Before a series of slow jazzy love songs, she says, “This is the segment of the show I call ‘Trying to get you laid.'” Between songs, Scott says that she thinks she knows something about relationships, and she’d like to share it. In the end though, she delivers no real speeches. With emotional authority, Scott just sings her heart out, and mostly forgets about the audience mid-song, just concentrating on her sound. This was particularly true with her rendition of “Insomnia,” in which she sings about the hours passing by as she waits in bed wondering where her lover is. The woman earns her back-up singers (three, for the record). She also looked great. As the token full-figured woman, Scott was featured in Vogue‘s “Shape” issue this year. But there’s no doubt, she can pick out her clothes: on Saturday, she came out in a black satiny tunic, big jewelry, black leggings, and chunky heals.
Scott saved two of her most popular, more up-tempo songs for the end of her performance. After “finishing” her set, she sauntered—-and this woman really does saunter—-off stage only re-emerge a few minutes later with go-go legend Chuck Brown for her hit “It’s Love” from her debut album, Who is Jill Scott? At this point, a man stepped out into the aisle for the sole purpose of shaking his butt. He stood there for a while, back bent, cheeks out, and wiggled his tush. Then, an usher directed him back to his seat.
After “It’s Love”, Scott continued onto her latest catchy tune “Hate on Me.” Chorus: “Hate on me hater, now or later….”
No one seemed to be complying.