The Beyoncé Effect: One Like No Other
When one initially mentions Beyoncé, words such as “phenomenal,” “legendary,” “iconic,” and “amazing” come to mind. From her days of “surviving” with Destiny’s Child to now serving us fresh batches of lemonade, the Houston native has blessed the world with authentic music for nearly two decades. Along with amazing albums, great videos, dope choreography and outfits, another huge factor in Beyoncé’s success are her highly anticipated, colossal, world tours.
As we all know Beyoncé is currently busy killing performances and touring the world for the highly anticipated, immense “Formation World Tour.” Beyoncé strategically announced the tour fresh after her highly talked about, “controversial” Super Bowl performance, with Miami starting the North American leg of the tour on April 27th. Entertainment Weekly stated, “The “Formation” run, named after her recent single, which she released Saturday, is her first massive tour since the “Mrs. Carter Show” world tour in 2013.”
Since the announcement of the tour, the “Formation” singer continued to wow and surprise fans by adding DJ Khaled as an opener on her tour and ultimately releasing her sixth studio album (second visual album) entitled “LEMONADE,” on April 23, 2016. Rap Genius describes the album as “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing.” It consists of twelve songs with features from artists including Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and James Blake.” The album was released as a surprise similarly like the 2013 self-entitled album, “BEYONCE.” However, this time Queen Bey created a “film version” of the album and showcased it on HBO for the world to view prior to releasing the music exclusively on Tidal.
I was able to attend the June 10, 2016 concert in Baltimore, Maryland at the M&T Bank Stadium. The concert started out with DJ Khaled opening and getting the restless, overly eager crowd excited with different songs. After a handful of great songs, he finally started with bringing out different artists. The beauty that comes with DJ Khaled being on this tour is you simply have no idea who this man will bring with him to your city. He began by bringing out DMV native Shy Glizzy, who performed his hit “Awwsome.” The crowd instantly went berserk. Following Glizzy, DJ Khaled brought out another fellow DMV Native, Mr. Wale Folarin himself. The hype in the stadium continued to build as Wale performed hits such as “Clappers,” “No Hands,” and his newest work “ My P.Y.T.” Khaled didn’t stop there, he also brought out VA’s own Trey Songz, and Mr. “Down in the DM” himself, Yo Gotti. DJ Khaled did a great job getting the crowd excited and keeping high energy as fans waited patiently for the main event, Mrs. Carter.
After about an hour of music playing, following DJ Khaled’s performance, the lights went off, various visuals began to display on the screen, and the screen also started to move- the show was finally about to begin. Fog filled the stage, cell phone lights flashed throughout the arena and fans waited anxiously to see the Queen grace the stage. As the beat to Formation dropped, screams filled the stadium and the crowd went ballistic when Beyoncé (and her dancers) appeared on stage with an all black outfit and huge fedora hat. The power that exuded off this woman was simply astonishing. As I looked and observed the arena I was simply amazed by the authority that she possessed with her presence. Before the song began, she formally welcomed the arena to the Formation Tour and declared, “If you came to slay tonight say, “I slay!” If you slay today and everyday, say “I Slay!” If you are proud of who you are and where you come from say, “I Slay!”
The “Formation” singer performed about 30 different songs at the concert (Sorry, Don’t Hurt Yourself, Crazy in Love, Baby Boy, Naughty Girl, and Flawless just to name a few). She performed for about almost 2 and half hours.
Some key components in delivering a true production are innovation and distinction. The Formation World Tour delivered just that. There were points throughout the show I had to ask myself: “How did she come up with that? How?” She performed songs from each of her albums, but with new transitions, mash-ups and choreography. For example, during her “Diva” performance, the singer sampled songs such as: “U Mad” by Vic Mensa, “Cut it” by OT Genasis, and “Panda” by Desiigner. She even honored the great Prince, singing her own version of “The Beautiful ones.” She followed the song descending under the stage leaving the screen completely purple as Prince’s “Purple Rain” echoed throughout the stadium.
Another huge factor that goes into a great tour is production. The production in this tour was simply immaculate. From the videos, graphics, visuals, pyro, stage effects, singing, and dancing, Beyoncé truly delivered an experience like no other. At one point she even had fire rising from the top of the stage. Every song flowed into the other. It was as if the songs were made with the thought of the next song in mind. Using the beautifully and impeccably designed videos from the LEMONADE film (along with new never seen content), Beyoncé created this journey that she wanted us to embark with her throughout the concert. The concert was like a book being read for the first time and Beyoncé was the storyteller.
She held nothing back in this tour; her voice sounded even stronger in person then I ever could have imagined. The way she controlled her pitch and tone was truly remarkable. Her outfits were colorful, sensual, bold, flashy, and somewhat revealing but they contained an unspeakable elegance that radiated all over her entire being. The choreography appeared effortless; she hit every move with full force. With each song, she danced as if it were her very first show. What was mind blowing was how hard she was dancing along with singing. Towards the end of the show she even danced in the front of the stage in water! She passionately performed songs such as: “Freedom,” “End of Time,” and “Halo” jumping, kicking, and dancing in the water, as if her life depended on it.
She never sounded fatigued or exhausted. It was as if the shouts and energy of the audience fueled her. That same energy that was given to her from the fans was reciprocated to everyone in the stadium. During her “Me, Myself and I” performance, she reminded fans the most important relationship to have is that with themselves and that all other relationships are simply a bonus. She empowered the audience from the beginning of the concert to its end, affirming that it is ok to be your self and to be proud of who you are.
She put 100% into her craft and gave fans more than a show. It really was incredible to see how humble she was. She took a moment in the show simply just to thank God for giving her such amazing fans and those same amazing fans for the appreciation, love and support they have given her. As surreal as it seemed for many fans to see her on stage it was just as surreal to her. She stated that she “always dreamed of performing in stadiums,” and you could feel the appreciation and authentic love she had (and continues to have) for her fans.
This was my first Beyoncé concert but it most definitely will not be my last. She by all means surpassed my expectations. There was so much more to it then just grabbing a microphone singing, and doing simple dances. Everything was complex; it was refined. As a male, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Whether you are a male or female, everyone needs to experience Beyoncé live at least once in his or her lifetime. From merely looking at her stand on the stage, to her zealously kicking, splashing and dancing in water, it honestly was something I never witnessed before. Her concert was truly an experience like no other in this world; it’s indescribable.
The North American leg of the tour will initially rap up towards the end of June, allowing the European tour to begin on Jun 28th in England. No worries, if you missed the North American leg it’s ok. You’re being given a second chance to see Beyoncé live in a city near you!
According to Entertainment Weekly , “Due to popular demand, the singer has added seven additional dates to the North American leg of her Formation tour, Live Nation and Parkwood Entertainment confirmed. The concert dates will kick off Sept. 7 in New Jersey after Beyoncé finishes the European leg of her tour. The extended tour will also make stops in Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, and a performance in Nashville previously scheduled for May 5 will be postponed to Oct. 2.