>A Few things before I start.
I Love Beyoncé, I’m not a total Stan but I’m a pretty fanatical admirer. I definitely look out for flaws in her performances and music, but even being as critical as I can be it seems I love everything she does. So I knew I’d have the time of my life at her “I Am… Tour” which touched down in Oakland, CA this past Friday July 10th.
Another thing I wanted to mention before I post my review, somehow I was blessed with an amazing ticket upgrade that literally had me interacting and Touching Mrs. Jay-Z!!! It was a concert experience I never had before and one I’m sure I’ll never forget.
Now, on to the show. When I say Beyoncé is THE best entertainer in the industry we have right now, Believe it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any pop performer rip through so many songs within a 2 hour set, singing live, doing high energy dance routines and genuinely engaging the crowd at the same time. Which is par for the course for Beyoncé, being that this is her third solo headlining tour since 2003. The “I Am… Tour” shows that she has been learning with all those previous tours how to give the perfect show. One that shows off her vocal talents, showcases her now pretty extensive catalogue, and entertains everybody in the arena. She did it, and did it well in Oakland. What amazed me is she was able to do a big spectacle of a pop show, with explosives, video montages, and stunts like her flying through the air to “Baby Boy“. However, somehow she was able to have this huge show but still make the show totally personal to her fans. There were several instances where she talked to the crowd and had them participate in the songs that they made successful. And the video imagining during her stellar performance of “At Last” showed the African American struggle in the US and culminated with images of our first black president Barack Obama, (where she emphasized the “At Last”. I have to admit, I found it a little self-centered and egotistical for her to repeatedly show pics of herself in “Cadillac Records” and her singing to the Obama’s at their Inauguration, but I’ll give her a pass). Since that was an experience all of us lived through, we all could relate in a very personal way.
Same goes for when she had the crowd sing a verse and hook of her #1 hit “Irreplaceable” or when she actually went into the audience to touch her fans during the show closer “Halo”. Beyoncé did an excellent job of making you feel that she’s both a Superstar Celebrity Entertainer as well as just a regular 27 old woman sharing the same experiences as everybody in the arena.
I honestly don’t know what more to say about the show. Like I said before she basically went through all of her big solo hits but mainly focused on a lot of the material from her latest album “I Am… Sasha Fierce”. Her “Ave Maria” mixed with Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” was as breathtaking live as it was on the BET Awards last month. “Smash Into You” and “Broken Hearted Girl” sandwiched that performance, and she put a lot of dramatics into the performances of her ballads and it worked to keep the crowd interested. Of course she had loads of uptempos, including her Electro’d out “Radio”, 2007’s dance ready “Get me Bodied”, her first huge solo hit “Crazy in Love” and her mega-Iconic recent #1 “Single Ladies”. One thing I did notice, it seemed like every song she performed was a performance that was prepared for an award show. Her performance of “If I were a boy” was probably my highlight of the night.It’s a great song to sing along with, and it was the only song at the show where she got to Rock Out. With some of the interesting poses and moves she was doing with the mic stand she really reminded me of the great Tina Turner in her “What’s Love Got to Do With It” heyday. During that performance she mixed in Alanis Morrissette’s hit single “You Oughta Know” and did a number of head bangs. Again, her performances of each song were all like Award show performances in that she devoted 110% to make each song pitch perfect, perfect choreography and entertaining. Yet it’s still amazing that she was able to do that with each song… back to back… for as long as she did.
The sad thing is, she performed on stage for a good 2 hours and the show was so much fun and so lively and entertaining that it only felt like half of that. I would definitely go again if that was an option. And if anybody is ever contemplating seeing her live, GO! You won’t see a live Pop show better, no matter where you look.