When several of my friends learned that Sunday night would mark my first time seeing Queen Bey in all her glory, they threw up their hands, unable to articulate words other than, “Oh girl!” or “I can’t…” I was told it would be life-changing.
Nothing could have prepared me, however, for the immeasurable talent and sky-high production value on display during Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On The Run tour performance at the Rose Bowl. As an audience member I wasn’t just enjoying a world-class singer and rapper, but rather basking in the glory of two of the greatest entertainers in the industry today.
Words fall short when describing this unstoppable, internationally-beloved power couple. Harkening to their 2003 single “Bonnie and Clyde ’03” (back when the duo was still dating and Jay Z was notably more in the spotlight than Beyoncé), the caper-themed evening featured many shorts portraying the pair on the run, hand in hand. While gossip blogs may be abuzz with rumors of tension between the two, the playful energy between the husband and wife onstage reminded the audience of their place as the top couple in the industry.
The duo effortlessly switched off lead duties throughout their two-and-a-half-hour, forty-plus-song set. Beyoncé outshone her husband, commanding the attention of thousands as she whipped her hair in ’80s rock star fashion and screamed “I woke up like this!” joined by thousands during “Flawless.” In recent years, she has solidified her status as a modern day feminist and performed emotionally-charged anthems like “Pretty Hurts” and “If I Were A Boy” to the thunderous approval of her “Beyhive.”
Beyoncé is renowned for her confidence and feminine empowerment, which shone through in songs like “Diva,” “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” and “Naughty Girl,” which included a sensual pole dancing number featuring costumes of assless pants. She captivated every audience member with her powerful vocal performance and flawless choreography, and as the opening bass line of “Partition” began, Beyoncé slid onto a couch to recreate the seductive video, causing the crowd to erupt into applause.
While Beyoncé had jaw-dropping outfits highlighting her feminine assets and a bevvy of backup dancers to complement her uptempo tunes, Jay Z was the center of his show, expertly rapping his well-known hits including “99 Problems,” “Big Pimpin’,” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” He performed tracks from across his 15-year career, such as “Hard Knock Life” and “No Church In The Wild,” working overtime to involve the audience by commanding spectators to “throw their diamonds in the air!” and wave side to side.
The sold-out stadium hit a fever pitch, however, when the unstoppable performers joined forces on duets like “Crazy In Love” or their recent hit “Drunk In Love” with its soaring, sing-along hook. Beyoncé also lent her vocals to Jay Z tracks, including “Holy Grail,” and the stadium lit up with thousands of cell phones for the perfect summer love ballad “Forever Young” as Jay Z’s flow was highlighted by Beyoncé’s velvety voice.
The evening ended with the couple facing the stage from a center platform as Beyoncé sang “Halo” while home videos of their daughter Blue Ivy played for thousands. The couple looked on proudly, creating a beautiful and intimate moment in what had been a nonstop performance.
Towards the end of the evening, Jay Z loudly declared, “If this ain’t the best motherfucking concert you’ve been to, I wanna know why!” He won’t be hearing any complaints from me.
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