Beyoncé, Queen B, Bey, Bee, Mrs. Carter – whatever you want to call her, no one would turn down a ticket to see her on account of her just being her. Beyoncé has been performing since 1990, when she was part of one of the most recognisable American girl groups; Destiny’s Child. She has always been the favourite in the public eye, and perhaps will go down as one of the most influential performers that this world will ever see.
Recently, her Mrs Carter Show World Tour (2013 & 2014) and surprise release of a new visual album has taken things to another level. Living up to her profound and frequent comments about her love for London, Beyoncé returned to thousands of fans queuing over night and all day at the O2 in London on Friday, to start a six night run of her revamped tour, to showcase her new album: ‘BEYONCÉ’.
Making a virtue of her (slightly flimsy) feminist political standing, Queen B performed a two-hour set of tracks old and new along side her eleven-piece all-female band. Her empowering track ‘Run The World (Girls)’ opened the show, proceeding into a voice over from the new album, quoting author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's talk: ‘We Should All Be Feminists’.
This audio insert was one of many on the night, where the spectacle was littered with musical and visual interludes, teasing the crowd with snippets from iconic tracks such as ‘Countdown’, which weren’t actually performed in full.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Carter didn't hold back with her set list, which featured twenty-three tracks in total, complemented by sensual silhouettes of dancers and unbelievable dance breaks performed by Les Twins. It included plenty of her heavyweight radio-singles such as ‘Irreplaceable’ and the constant key-changing favourite ‘Love on Top’.
However, the highlight for me (and no doubt the majority of the audience) was the performance of seven tracks from the new album, including the controversial and (in Shuf’s opinion) poorly judged “explicit ballad” ‘Drunk in Love’. It was anticipated by the entire audience, yet not expected when Beyoncé introduced her man, Jay-Z, onto stage to perform as the ultimate 21st century power couple. Whether it was the sheer adrenaline of this performance, the complete surprise or the fact that anyone not in this audience would be jealous of what we had experienced, B and J made the night unforgettable.
Unbelievably, when Beyoncé spoke, she had pretty much lost her voice, yet this did not affect the sensation and iconicity of her vocal. It was this, and her almost omnipotent stage presence that conveyed Bey as not merely an outstanding singer, but a true performer, allowing The Mrs Carter Show to live up to its title- a show. Not just a tour of concerts.
Words: Laura Fitzpatrick