As someone who firmly believes that God said on the seventh day, “Y’all ain’t ready for the jelly I’m going to send to earth on September 4, 1981,” it doesn’t take much for me to get excited about anything Beyoncé-related.
So while I knew I would be attending the “On The Run” Tour, I was far more interested in seeing Beyoncé on stage than I was to see Beyoncé’s husband and co-headliner, Jay Z.
Having seen him a year ago with Justin Timberlake, I wondered whether or not the pop-pop of rap would be doing the performance equivalent of “you in the club doing the same old two-step.” To Mr. Carter’s credit, not only did he manage to keep up with his wife’s electricity, he showed his own on stage growth — albeit in much subtler fashion.
The Carters kicked off their two-and-a-half set to a sold-out crowd at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Saturday with “03 Bonnie and Clyde.” The two then spent the rest of the show going back-and-forth in well-executed transitions that merged their sounds seamlessly.
Keeping with the theme of the promo video that spread across the Internet mere seconds after it finished uploading, throughout the night, Beyoncé and Jay Z played Tarantino-themed vignettes depicting the couple as outlaws.
For the record, I’m one of those people who believes Beyoncé is a much better actress than “The Fighting Temptations” and “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” let on. But y’all don’t hear me, though. Now for some concertgoers, it might’ve been surprising to see Beyoncé holding guns and cursing out people while acting out a bank robbery.
However, if you’ve been a longtime fan of the Patron Saint of Houston, you’re not at all surprised to see her more aggressive side. It’s always been there, only she became much more guarded as media folk increasingly reached for their scalpels in order to dissect her.
With the release of BEYONCÉ, Yoncé has let said guard down, and thankfully, that’s been carried over to her live shows.
When you’ve been a dominant fixture of pop music as a solo star for a decade, it would be easy to fall into a state of contentment, especially when your contemporaries are better at Instagram uploads and subtweets than they are singing and dancing.
Still, Beyoncé is only 32, so it’s great to see that she’s not resting on her laurels. With both “The Mrs. Carter Show”and the “On The Run” tours, it’s clear that Beyoncé is aiming to spend the next decade of her life raising the bar in terms of the spectacle with which she treats fans. Given the torture that Beyoncé puts fans through to get tickets, they deserve it.
There are differences between the shows, particularly in terms of song arrangements and the noticeably different changes to her choreography. Beyoncé’s style of dance always came across to me as “Tina Turner at her prime at the club dancing to Ca$h Money’s best selections.”
It was always entertaining, but not necessarily the most challenging steps. Now, you see more intricate steps and much more skilled Beyoncé nailing every move. Somewhere Janet and Madonna are going, “Gon’ girl.” Ditto for her costumes.
With her voice, she’s never sounded clearer and more confident, but if there were any critique I’d have about Beyoncé the singer, it would be that she wasn’t always convincing when singing songs like “Resentment.”
I’ve since changed my opinion as Beyoncé has learned not to convey pain in her voice with growling. I’m not sure if that can be attributed to experience or just more practice, but she’s much more adept at that style at singing as further evidenced by her cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor.”
By the way, as far as Bey changing the lines of the “Resentment” goes, that’s something she’s been doing for several years now. Stop it before the #Beyhive creeps into your nightmares.
And while the debate of whether or not Beyoncé is a feminist, a terrorist or some Illuminati demon trying to get black girls pregnant because she sings about boning her husband in a limousine in certain circles that I proudly ignore, the woman herself continues to uplift women her way.
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