“We anticipate and understand disappointment but our anniversary tour will not be able to happen,” the group wrote in a social media post. “The continued Covid pandemic has made touring conditions difficult, and we want to make sure we keep our fans and ourselves healthy and safe. An idea sparked to honor and celebrate this 25th anniversary of ‘The Score’ but we see now it may not currently be our time for revisiting this past work. We’re grateful for the special night we did get to share with some of you in New York, with that rare live moment. If opportunity, public safety, and scheduling allow, we hope to be able to revisit this again sometime soon. Thank you for all of your love and support throughout the years.”
The tour — which would have been the group’s first in 25 years — was announced suddenly in September and quickly followed with a concert at Pier 17 in New York. The 12-city proper tour was to launch Nov. 2 at United Center in Chicago and cross the U.S. before concluding in Africa, with the final shows taking place in Nigeria and Ghana, but was postponed just three days before it was to begin.
“Dates for our upcoming Fugees 25th anniversary tour are moving to early 2022 to ensure the best chance that all cities on the tour are fully open so we can perform for as many fans as possible,” the group wrote in a social media post, with promises for more shows to be added.
However, many of the dates that were put on sale had very light ticket sales, which probably contributed to the decision to cancel.
At the Sept. 22 concert in New York, the trio was accompanied by more than 20 musicians but played just seven songs and went on three-and-a-half hours later than scheduled. “We’re still cooking it,” Hill — who is notorious for starting her concerts late — explained to the crowd of the brief performance, before acknowledging both the group’s impact and its rocky past. “We made hip-hop global,” she said, before noting their “complicated history.”
After debuting in the early 1990s as the Tranzlator Crew, the Fugees were together for just five years and two albums, but their then-pioneering fusion of rapping, melody and West Indian sounds, largely powered by Hill’s voice, made an indelible mark on the music world of the 1990s. The group debuted with 1994’s hip-hop heavy “Blunted on Reality,” but their full potential became clear with “The Score” two years later. Driven by their innovative and ubiquitous cover of Robert Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” the album won two Grammys and has been certified seven-times platinum.
However, they splintered soon after, clearing the way for Hill’s galvanizing 1998 debut “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and solo careers for Jean and Michael as well. A brief reunion in 2005 yielded the single “Take It Easy.” All three have continued to tour and release albums, most notably Hill, although she has released just one album, a live “Unplugged” set recorded in 2001, in the two decades since “Miseducation.”