It was a wardrobe malfunction of the highest order: The airline had lost Lil' Kim's luggage.
For a hip-hop sex kitten who is as popular for her saucy rhymes as her outrageous outfits - the purple pastie she wore to the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards particularly stands out - this meant that the start time of her sold-out concert on Monday at the Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko would have to be pushed back while she pieced together another worthy getup. Sponsored Links
After an hour, host Sterling James announced, "Lil' Kim is in the house!"
Translation: It would be another hour before the 35-year-old rapper would actually take the stage.
With the crowd properly lubricated at this point, everyone took the opportunity to start bouncing as the DJ blasted jams they were more likely to hear at the Hustler Club than a cabaret venue that normally hosts the likes of Paula West and Wesla Whitfield.
As another hour passed, he started dipping into Lil' Kim's own records while someone started flicking the house lights on and off.
Lil' Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is in the midst of a comeback effort she launched in earnest nearly four years ago - shortly after she completed a 10-month sentence in federal prison for lying to a grand jury.
In her prime, she sold millions of albums, scored a Grammy and became a regular tabloid feature. But since her release, her most high-profile gig was as a contestant on the eighth season of "Dancing With the Stars."
Now, with young contenders like Nicki Minaj coming up and copping her style, it appears that Kim is ready to reclaim her crown as the queen bee of the rap world.
This show, which was to be followed by another Tuesday night, marked one of her first live appearances in years.
When she finally appeared onstage - followed by several security guards, two dancers and four police officers - Kim was wearing a veil and what appeared to be a Soviet-era wedding dress two sizes too small.
"We were just running around and found this," she said. "It's OK, right?"
The crowd of about 175 people went bananas, apples and grapes. Even though only the dozen or so in the front row could actually see her, it was clear that Lil' Kim was, indeed, in the house.
You could tell by the stream of expletives coming from the general area of the stage.
During her hourlong set, she dispensed relationship advice, mingled with her very vocal fans and collected various gifts. Kim also found time to revisit some of her vintage hits, like "Crush on You," "Magic Stick" and the remake of "Lady Marmalade" from 2001's "Moulin Rouge!" soundtrack (minus Christina Aguilera, Pink and Mya).
Despite the occasional mentions of Cristal, her expletive-laced songs of female affirmation and power grabs held up surprisingly well, given hip-hop's typically short shelf life.
As far as new material, she offered up live "remixes" of songs by Rihanna, Snoop Dogg and Alicia Keys featuring, well, Lil' Kim.
"If you've never heard these songs, go on the Internet and you'll hear them," she explained, helpfully.
She sounded particularly fierce on her most recent hit, 2005's set-closing "Lighters Up." In fact she liked that one so much, she did it all the way through. Twice. In a row. Then her DJ played it again.
It was unlike anything the Rrazz Room had ever seen.
Then again, with Kim it's not just about the music: It's the spectacle. And on that front she clearly did not disappoint. Some things are just worth the wait.