By Madeline Sutton
Before Lalah came on stage in Atlanta on October 1, 2016, she asked that all cell phones be turned off, so that we could be “fully in the experience.” And what an experience it was! Lalah’s voice is exquisite and silky and powerful and something meant to be experienced live. The recording studio doesn’t do her voice-gift justice. She and her band started with, “Baby, Don’t Cry,” and it was soon followed by a very heartfelt “Mirror.” “Stop hiding yourself,” she sang, and we all sat perfectly still, completely mesmerized. Lalah shared with us that October 1st was her father’s, Donny Hathaway’s, birthday (he would have been 71), then sang his song “Ghetto Boy” as a precious tribute from daughter to father and to share with us the song for which she recently won a grammy.
Lalah next talked about the authenticity of 1980s music and then went into her cover of “Angel.” Beautiful. This set also included her covers of other songs by Anita Baker, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and the Gap Band. The acoustics in the Center Stage were perfect for her melodic voice and her skillful band. By the time Lalah got to “Forever, For Always, For Love,” her voice was even more breathtaking, and she was playful with us, her fans. She scatted for almost 30 minutes straight, and no one scats like Lalah Hathaway! She left the stage after two hours, but returned for one encore with Robert Glasper as a surprise guest! Glasper on keyboards and Lalah singing her heart out (photo); now that’s how you end a show, and that’s when we finally had the opportunity to snap some photos. Be sure to check out Lalah Hathaway when she comes to your town! She never disappoints!