Everyone's been asking us today: How is it that a Lauryn Hill/Dave Chappelle show actually happened last night, anyway? And, frankly we wondered ourselves -- all we saw beforehand were the announcement Tweets like the rest of you. Being the journalistically inclined folks we are, we passed a few questions to the managers of the New Parish in Oakland, where the show went down, and late this afternoon, got a response.
It turns out that if you thought yesterday's show announcement was last-minute, you aren't alone. In fact, the very idea of the event wasn't even born until Wednesday morning.
According to our source at the New Parish, the plot began with a phone call from Dave Chappelle late Wednesday morning suggesting a joint show with Hill. The whole thing was his suggestion; he flew out yesterday from Springfield, Ohio, for the performance. (As our sister blog, the Exhibitionist, has reported, Chappelle is performing again tonight, and we're hearing rumors that he'll be doing other Bay Area shows this weekend.)
Though everyone liked the idea -- Hill and Chappelle are mutual fans -- the show was still a crossed-fingers hope throughout most of yesterday, as the parties scrambled to finalize contracts and acquire equipment. Hill's band insisted on getting an entirely new P.A. for the intimate performance -- which made things interesting, considering the New Parish had another band, Titus Andronicus, playing a normal evening spot before the late-night show. After that set, the venue's sound engineer, Daniel Samms, and its production manager, Steve Baiocchi, had to replace the whole sound system. (And despite this, Hill still complained about the sound throughout.)
The venue also had to deal with staying open late -- which it did by requesting a special permit from the Oakland police yesterday afternoon, just in case the plan worked out.
By 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to our source, the contracts all came back and the show was a done deal. Dave was on a plane from Ohio. And of course at 5:30, the New Parish sent out a Tweet
announcing the surprise show. If you still don't know what happened after that, read our recap of the show itself
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