Review by Tom Frodsham
“Just think in twenty years time y’all are gonna be able to say ‘I went to that Mrs Carter World tour’” was what Queen B-Mrs Carter-Sasha Fierce-Beyonce told her audience at the Phones 4U arena on Tuesday and I think she’s got a point.
There are few artists or performers in the world right now that EVERYONE wants to see. It’s a rare gift for an artist to have such wide appeal; so to experience a Beyonce show for the first time is definitely one I’m proud to tick off my bucket list. Queen B, as she likes to call herself nowadays (‘Bow Down BITCHES!’) was performing two shows in our humble music loving city and I was at the first.
You could feel the anticipation waiting for the lady in question to arrive. Even to the point of five girls in the standing section getting carried out before show time as they were either too drunk or collapsed from exhaustion. Seriously, they were dropping like flies!
Finally at 9.15ish Beyonce took to the stage, welcomed by deafening screams, hyping up the crowd before she began to do what she does best; dancing and gyrating like only Beyonce can. You know which moves I mean, the shoulder shimmy, the hair flick, the body grind and the good old fashioned body popping. Early in the set she performed ‘Flawless’ from her latest self-titled record, getting the crowd to scream the lyrics ‘I WOKE UP LIKE THIS. FLAWLESS!’ Well maybe not all of us wake up looking as accomplished as Beyonce but it’s a nice gesture isn’t it?
The Donna Summer inspired ‘Naughty Girl’ brought us a Vegas show girl inspired dancing medley while she strutted across the stage wearing a gold sequinned bodysuit. With a body like that, straddling a chez lounge while singing with that almighty voice – it was hard to believe she was singing live, but of course she was. The one thing that stood out all night for me is how powerful her vocals were while at the same time dancing as passionately as her talented dancers. The stage direction was simple. One huge rectangular screen covering the width of the stage used as a backdrop. The lights were used effectively when routines were choreographed to show off Beyonces silhouette and combined with her shiny costumes no matter where you were sat in the arena you knew exactly what the world’s biggest female singer was doing.
Even though her last album was the focus of the tour Beyonce managed to mix in all her classic hits, even if it wasn’t the full track, into the set list. Think ‘Drunk In Love’ followed by ‘Irreplaceable’ and then ‘Love On Top’, of which the latter really lifted the crowd and got everyone singing badly at the top of their lungs (myself included). Like she did at one of the Birmingham shows a few days previous, Beyonce sang Happy Birthday to one of the VIP audience members. Can you imagine Beyonce singing Happy Birthday to you, right in front of your face? I’d have either cried or fainted but Kaley (even Beyonce wasn’t sure on her name) kept her cool and didn’t pass out from star struck-ness.
The only thing that was missing at times was a lack of momentum. There was a short break in between every two songs or so, sometimes every one song, probably for Queen B to get her breath back, but it was very disjointed when you just wanted the songs to flow one after the other. Ending the show with the fan inspired ‘XO’ and the almighty ‘Halo’ Beyonce sang with effortless might before saying her ‘Thank You’s’ and ‘Goodnight y’alls’. Leaving us all wanting more.
With the music industry being swamped with controversial and hugely successful female solo artists Beyonce needed to crank up her game, which this last album and tour has all been about. After the birth of her daughter she must have realised she needed to really show them all who is the boss, which is why the whole show is executed around her regal status. I think she had a point earlier, I’m definitely going to be telling people in twenty years time ‘Yeah I went to that Mrs Carter World Tour you know’.