Lauryn Hill in Concert

Tuesday 10 May 2011 7:30 p.m.

Humphrey’s Concerts By The Bay
2241 Shelter Island Drive

92106 San Diego, CA, US

Tickets: $60 (plus service charges)

Phone: (800) 745-3000

Online: Click here.

Lauryn Hill isn’t the most puzzling and confounding star or former star in pop or hip-hop, but she comes close.

That makes her Tuesday, May 10, “Moving Target: Extended Intimate Playdate Series” show atHumphrey’s Concerts by the Bay a matter of great interest and potential intrigue.

For starters, the contracts for her current tour stipulate that she must be billed as “Ms. Lauryn Hill.” Better yet, to cite the most recent press release from her publicist, as: “The legendary Grammy Award-winning MC, vocalist, producer and songwriter, Ms. Lauryn Hill.”

But that description only tells part of the story about this New Jersey native, whose frequent disappearances, history of wildly erratic concerts and last-minute cancellations qualifies her as a rival to the infamous Sly Stone. Since leaving The Fugees in 1996 — the hip-hop trio she co-founded with Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel — Hill has spent more time missing in action than in the public eye.

Her 1998 debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” was a commercial and artistic smash that earned her five Grammy Awards. On it, she expertly fused hip-hop, dance-hall reggae, gospel, New Jack Swing, classic soul and funk into a broadly appealing whole. Her best lyrics boasted rare spiritual vigor and enlightened social awareness, especially from an artist then only 24.

But Hill’s 1999 solo tour was much too much, much too soon. She was paid a guaranteed $250,000 per show at huge venues, including San Diego’s Coors (now Cricket) Amphitheatre. The top ticket price, nearly $100, was unaffordable for many of her core young fans and her very uneven concert here drew an audience of 7,489 in a venue that holds nearly 20,000.

After that tour, Hill disappeared for over a year. She re-emerged in mid-2001 with an “MTV Unplugged” special and album, vanished for three years, then re-appeared for some sporadic Fugees’ reunion gigs. Her only concert here since 1999 was a 2007 solo show at Pala Casino.“Health reasons” led her to cancel most dates on her 2009 European tour.

As a mother of five children, ages 3 to 13, Hill no doubt has plenty besides music on her mind. Reports of her Coachella performance last month indicate she is as gifted, and erratic, as ever. Here’s hoping she soars, not stumbles, at Humphrey’s, where her opening act, New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band should provide a dance-happy musical gumbo worth arriving early for.