PASADENA, CA —Back by popular demand.
When it comes to Beyoncé, what you see is what you get.
And what you get, is a over zealous woman hand-dipped in magical fairy dust that has the tenacity to leave you in sheer awe and quite possibly reconsider the existence of your entire well-being. To say the least.
"If y'all came to slay tonight, say I slay."
That's how Beyoncé greeted tens of thousands of fans gathered Saturday (May 14) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, where she brought her Formation World Tour for an evening of first-class entertainment and communal self-empowerment. Reminding us she's number one and unapologetically making even the best of the rest look amateur, Bey gave a flawless, perfectly-choreographed show that precisely delivered her slay all day motto. Nothing more, nothing less.
As her super-enthused Bey-Hive followers cheered in pandemonium, the Queen taunted the stage in an all-black ruffle-down one-piece, oversized brim hat, racy stockings and a chip on her shoulder targeted to any and everyone that ever doubted her greatness. Opening with the appropriate tour title track "Formation," a black power anthem and cocky Lemonade self-affirmation, the stage is set with a colossal white prism, dimly lit in red and backed by a stagger of half-diamond shaped ready to "go-off" dancers. And whether you're watching her on stage, or on the giant life-size screen, it's stupefying to see her snap from mane-tossing snarl to a beatific smile in a disarming instant.
"Loose your cool and get lost with me tonight," she said, before wasting no time to shuffle between early Bey records like "Kitty Kat," "Who Run The World," and "Bow Down" to her latest material "Sorry" and "Hold Up."
At one point in her nearly two-hour set, she told the crowd she'd been doing this for nearly 20 years, and is "so blessed and fortunate to be on this stage doing what I love." Reminiscing about her former girl group days with Destiny's Child, she added, "thank you to all my strong women who inspire me, this next one if for you." Which ever-so triumphantly was her self-love above all record, "Me, Myself, And I," off her debut solo album Dangerously In Love.
From a perfectly live rendition of "Baby Boy," mashed with the reggae jig of "Ring The Alarm," to the loving cheers that serve as a baseline, she segued into Jay Z's "Takeover," and her own "Prey You Catch Me," before introducing the 2001 D.C. classic "Survivor."
"If you've survived any bad relationships," Bey said before giving a very small smile that you could feasibly describe as wry. "If you've survived anything in your life, I want you to celebrate with me tonight."
There was glitter, fireworks and a pool of water that she and her dancers cavorted in during "Freedom," the 28th of the 31 songs she performed on the night. And there was definitely more sass and seduction than a squad of single ladies scorned by a love lost or a any man-eaters for that matter.
But, the headline of the night (see below) came when Beyoncé paid tribute to the late Prince with a moving rendition of "The Beautiful Ones," which she followed by playing two or three minutes of "Purple Rain" over the sound system as an enormous video screen bathed the stadium in purple light. Later dropping bits of other artists' influence into her songs, with a morphed Vanity 6's "Nasty Girl" into "Blow" and D'Angelo’s slinky slow jam "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" for "Rocket."
Closing the electrified concert turned narrative play, she left the audience with the beautiful rendition of "Halo," dedicated to her family and more importantly her "beautiful husband" and "saving grace."
Beyoncé has the magnitude of an eclipse. An artist so rare and unthinkable, you'd be considered lucky to witness once in a lifetime. She's respected for her queenly domination, sense of moral certainty and refinement of turning dedication into dreams. She's unstoppable and wired with a kind of wistful delirium that will continue to lead the state of music and pop culture into a strike of fierce scowl and true artistry.