Jill Scott Massey Hall, Toronto ON - March 16, 2005

There's nothing like going to a show and feeling truly engaged by the performer you've (more often than not nowadays) shelled out at least a few decent meals' worth of cash to see. It's what separates a good show from a great one, and it's a lesson that certainly hasn't been lost on Philly songstress Jill Scott, who's perfected the art of drawing an audience into her world on a truly personal and relatable level. On this, her fourth show in the city, Scott displayed a confidence and stage presence rarely encountered in any live performer, entering the stage in front of a capacity Massey Hall crowd as though stepping into her own living room, and instantly reconnecting with her Canuck family. The night immediately opened up into a two hour life lesson set to music, with the versatile vocalist stringing together completely reworked versions of songs from Beautifully Human into a running text enriched by numerous adlibs and humorously raw commentary. A talkative and extremely personable Scott regaled her audience with stories of love, life, lust and infidelity, drawing from every ounce of her early experience with the Canadian cast of Rent to physically interpret the emotion in her music. Songs like "Cross My Mind" and "Whatever" were played out on stage in a way that had those in attendance reliving each experience. The singer opened a dialogue with the male attendees with "Can't Explain," apologising on behalf of her sex for all the women who've done them wrong, and even did a bit about a half-wit cousin performing the "hind-lick" manoeuvre on a choking woman. All the while she embraced her audience, pausing from time to time just to make sure that they were singing along. It was truly a night to remember, and one that promised only bigger and better from today's undisputed queen of soul.