Lauryn Hill and Dave Chappelle Drop a Surprise Late-Night Show on Oakland

Categories: Last Night

Lauryn Hill at the New Parish last night.
Lauryn Hill and Dave Chappelle
April 13, 2011 (Actually April 14)
@ The New Parish, Oakland

Better than: A good night's sleep

When the news hit Twitter Wednesday afternoon, it seemed like a prank: Lauryn Hill and Dave Chappelle had announced a last-minute show at the New Parish in Oakland? For that very night? Sure, Hill played the Warfield Tuesday, but wasn't Titus Andronicus at New Parish Wednesday? Well, yes -- the Hill/Chappelle affair was a special late-night deal, set for 1-3:30 a.m., after Titus' set at the cozy downtown Oakland club. The prices seemed real enough -- $90 a ticket for the floor, $140 for VIP treatment -- and by late Wednesday evening, word hit that even at that dime, the show was nearly sold out.

By 12:45 a.m., a mere 15 minutes before the things were supposed to start, a very real line of fans snaked around the corner from the venue, down San Pablo Avenue, and back around 17th Street, encompassing nearly an entire city block. No one knew what to expect. Giddy fans smoked, hit bowls, waved paper tickets around excitedly, and chatted about the need for Red Bull. Around 1, the line actually started to move, and frantic organizers divided up the crowd to get everyone in faster.

Dave Chappelle
​Sure enough, at about 1:20, a lanky Dave Chappelle ambled out onto the New Parish's small, squarish stage, dressed in jeans, a leather jacket, and white Adidas, and the reality of this thing hit properly. Ten hours ago, none of us expected to be here, and even Dave was surprised: "This shit was put together at the very last minute!" he exclaimed, before launching into what seemed like a largely improvised set. First topic: Africa, or rather, the absurdity of Somalian pirates holding an oil tanker hostage for a $20 million ransom. "Where the fuck you gonna cash a $20 million check in Mogadishu?" Chappelle howled. "There isn't even a liquor store there!"

He bummed a smoke from a guy watching upstairs, and the monologue wandered through Egypt's revolution ("they Twittered that motherfucker to death"), the lax weed laws of NorCal ("They say marijuana is legal in Oakland, is that true?"), Gavin Newsom's sex scandal ("I met him [Newsom] before, he's a nice guy"), Chappelle potentially sleeping with Oprah ("That's one of the most implausible things I've ever heard in my life"), and, of course, Barry Bonds ("I hope he did steroids!")

Location Info



The New Parish

579 18th St., Oakland, CA

Category: Music

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who are the members of her band? 


Perhaps I should have made this clearer in the review, but yeah, Hill's band was very tight. She kept the chat to a minimum between songs — seemed to be rushing to get as much music as possible into the limited time slot she had — and overall it was a totally solid and fiery set. Certainly not the disaster I know she can be. Jeremy might be right — maybe she should always play at 2 a.m. Or maybe she just wanted to impress Dave ...


Lauren Hill's band was "tight"??? Are you sure about that Jeremy? even the review didn't indicate her band was tight - they were such a mess when I saw them - I demanded my $ back - waiting for some other opinions?


Lauryn Hill is absolutely dreadful live. She never makes it on to the stage at time. There are always "sound" issues. Her voice is always off, like she's had a cold for the past 5 years she can't get rid of. She's always giving her band crap, as if to make us believe it's somehow the bands fault for her sucking. Saw her at Rock the Bells last year, where she threw off the entire lineup cuz she wanted to go on early and then half the people left to go pee or get drinks cuz she sucked so bad. Major disappointment.


I've heard similar stories from a couple of friends, but that's not what I saw last night. Maybe all of her shows should start at 2 in the morning? She was locked in with the band the whole night. At the end she was all smiles and kept singing "let's do this again," or something like that.


Lauryn Hill killed it last night. I was nervously expecting lots of technical difficulties and rambling monologues, but she was all about the music. Her voice sounded fine--if a little strained--in the beginning when she couldn't hear herself in the monitors. She barked at the sound guy several times, but there were hardly any breaks between songs, and she really opened up once they got the mix dialed in after the first handful of songs. I liked the new arrangements of the old hits, and the band was tight. The only thing I would've asked for was another hour or two of Dave after her set.


The author kept it positive but it sounds like what I have come to expect after seeing Lauryn twice last year. Short sets with a lot of "speed rapping" and a lot of time "adjusting' the sound. While I realize that artistic talent may make you a hot commodity please don't lose sight of providing a decent performance for the fans that build you.

Kendall Dix
Kendall Dix

" after Titus' set at the cozy downtown Oakland club "

Actually Titus' set was limited to 45 minutes and all of us who were there to see them were thrown out early.

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