The big name this year, of course, is Lauryn Hill, and that's who's getting all the breathless hype in talk about the event. But let's face it. Hill, as brilliant an artist as she once was (and could be again), has gone off the rails. While most of her fans wish her well and wish for her to get a grip, another element has now come into play with each of her live engagements.
To be fair, her most recent South Florida performance, at a University of Miami event this past November, went down mostly without a hitch (albeit about an hour and 15 minutes after opener Donnis finished his set). So, all could go fine at her Jazz in the Gardens gig, scheduled for this Saturday.
However, after the disintegration of his family band DeBarge, of which he was the undisputed star, his solo career and personal life foundered. There was drug addiction, and even jail time, until, like magic, he appeared on last year's BET Awards broadcast, healthy and singing as sweetly as ever. His recent performances support a disc titled, appropriately, Second Chance, which features cameos from the likes of Fabolous and 50 Cent and scored Grammy nominations for the title single.
Finally, a relatively late addition to the bill is the infamous Bobby Brown, who will share the stage with former New Edition bandmates Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant. (Note: This is in no way being billed as a New Edition reunion or show -- even the words "New Edition" seem carefully avoided on the official concert poster -- but a little harmonizing for old time's sake seems inevitable, doesn't it?)