July 30, 2023

BEYONCÉ played MetLife Stadium

One of the year's hottest tours came to MetLife Stadium on Saturday for the first of two sold-out shows.

After a quick thunderstorm touched down on the Meadowlands, the skies cleared a giant rainbow covered the sky and ended over MetLife Stadium. The Queen Bey was a literal pot of gold at the end and as fans followed it to enter the stadium, the excitement in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The strangers around me were thrilled to be there and everyone was gearing up for the night of their summer (if not their lives). As the sun set and darkness finally fell, the night began with a massive screen depicting visuals of a crane lifting the set into place and unveiling a stunning image of the Queen herself before she rose from the stage to kick-off the opening portion of the night. Instead of jumping into the biggest hits, Bey took things slow, sharing her gratitude for everyone coming to watch her perform and paying tribute to the one year anniversary of Renaissance, the reason we were all in attendance. As she dropped into ballad-mode, her voice was the instant spectacle of the night. It wasn't the flashy costumes, the elaborate stage pieces, her fierce dancers, or even the appearance from her offspring that gutted the crowd, it was the undeniable talent and sheer power of her voice that reached the upper limits of the massive stadium and sent shivers down the spines of the 80,000+ in attendance. Moving to sit atop a piano "1+1" was magnetic, her voice shimmering with each impressive note and the happiness on her face couldn't have been bigger as she slowly transitioned into a cover of "I'm Going Down" which brought on one of the first massive cheers of the night. "I Care" was another high power performance where her range was on full display, but it was her cover of "River Deep, Mountain High" in tribute to her late great inspiration and the Queen of Rock and Roll, the one and only Tina Turner. Instead of turning it into a huge dance number, she kept things restrained and let her voice do the work of the tribute as she stood there relishing in her own grace and supreme talent. After a costume change, we moved into a new act that went straight for the jugular and brought Renaissance to life with the utmost sparkle. "COZY" was a hot flash of silvery sparkles as the Queen emerged in a new disco dress and massive pink fur coat and got the dancers behind her to move and groove with pure fun. The dance and house vibes came to life with massive beats and killer bass and the transition into "ALIEN SUPERSTAR" was phenomenal. Finally, Bey came to life and brought her nasty tour energy and swagger into the picture, showcasing why she really is the best, why she's number one, the only one, and truly one of one. "Lift Off" from her husband and former friend's album Watch the Throne was an interesting choice and probably could've been subbed for one of her own blockbuster numbers, but she still took ownership and made the track totally her own as she sang the skyrocketing chorus before dipping once more for another costume change. If I had to find a flaw for the evening, I would've taken a few more songs in exchange for one or two less costume changes to keep the energy moving and to see and hear more from her incredible catalogue, but if you asked me which costumes to skipped, I'd be hard pressed to pick one. "CUFF IT" did bring the energy right back to astronomic levels when she returned and it was clear that the crowd was ready to break loose and dance. Playing the segue of the album straight through was a brilliant move here and as we moved into "ENERGY" and "BREAK MY SOUL," it felt like the most high-octane part of the night with the entire stadium reveling the thumping house beats and when she interpolated Madonna's "Vogue" into the beat and dropped the names of other iconic Black women, it felt like a true victory lap and she lead her dancers around the stage in a massive dance-off while the crowd went absolutely nuts. The Ballroom vibes got a long-overdue spotlight and this moment in particular felt like a crowning achievement for a community that has given so much and received so little, finally the contributions were celebrated and honored with Queer representation standing centerstage and basking in richly deserved praise. It's hard to pick a definitive highlight from the night, but this one surely takes one of the top spots. When she rose from the stage to join her dancers, once again in a new outfit that seemed like a football jersey with IV stamped on the front, the iconic wide-brimmed hats, and boots up to her chin, they dropped "Formation" and proved how it became a rallying cry for women around the world and when she went directly into "Diva," it was clear we were ready to celebrate womanhood and honor everyone as "Run the World (Girls)" cemented the trifecta. By now, many know this is the portion of the night where Blue Ivy arrives (in a matching outfit to mom's) and leads the dancers all over the stage while Bey rolls in on an armored tank to lavishly serenade everyone with "BLACK PARADE" while watching her daughter and beaming with pride and glowing in a way I've never seen her glow before. From celebrating opulence, she moved into the anointed segment which gave us her soulful cover of "Before I Let Go" and her still classic "Love On Top" which had the entire stadium singing back to her every single key change acapella while Bey stood on and watched with amazement and total joy as the crowd carried the entirety of the song before Bey blasted into "Crazy in Love." Her next return found her arriving to the stage in a giant clamshell like Botticelli's Birth fo Venus, yet another stunning moment that highlighted her unbridled attention to making sure this was the most dazzling and over the top display she's put on yet and when she instructed everyone to whip out their fans for "HEATED," you best believe the crowd listened. The final act of the night saw her return once again, but this time atop the glowing horse from the album cover which she rode in upon and would then stay on as it levitated around the stadium for "PURE/HONEY." He dancers took to the catwalk to vogue and pay tribute to the ballroom culture the album so joyously celebrates and Bey made sure to own those traditions and influences in front of the insanely large crowd, giving the moments to those who don't always get the spotlight, but own every inch of it when they do. She ditched the horse in the middle of the field and just floated like a true angel over the crowd for the final number of the night "SUMMER RENAISSANCE" a deliriously euphoric moment that brought the night to a wondrous finale. In the year since the album dropped, the anticipation for how she'd bring this to life only grew to massive heights, but as you'd Beyoncé surpassed any and all expectations and delivered a celebration of Black and Queer excellence and made the night about her fanbase and the positivity they bring. This wasn't just her moment, it was a moment for those in the crowd as well and it was the purest celebration of the year.

Set list:

01 "Dangerously in Love"
02 "Flaws and All"
03 "1+1" -> I'm Going Down"
04 "I Care"
05 "River Deep, Mountain High"
07 "COZY"
09 "Lift Off"
10 "7/11
11 "CUFF IT"
14 "Formation"
15 "Diva"
16 "Run the World (Girls)"
19 "Savage (Remix)"
20 "Partition"
22 "Get Me Bodied"
23 "Before I Let Go"
24 "Rather Die Young"
25 "Love on Top"
26 "Crazy in Love"
29 "Naughty Girl"
30 "MOVE"

No comments: