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Ever since last Saturday’s release of Beyonce visual album Lemonade — with its themes of infidelity leading to a whirlwind of rumors — fans have been anxiously awaiting the singer’s Formation World Tour. On Wednesday night (April 27), Queen Bey officially kicked off the tour in Miami, and the BeyHive may never be the same.
Beyonce brought her show back to basics — focusing on singing, dancing and amazing outfits. Very few special effects were on display, and the intense sentiment that defined the new album could certainly be felt throughout the evening.
After an opening DJ set with appearances from from DJ Khaled, Lil Wayne, Future and Rick Ross, Queen Bey finally stepped onto the stage. She opened the night followed by a troupe of dancers clad in black sequined leotards and wide-brimmed hats. She quickly instructed the audience, “If you came to slay tonight, say ‘I slay’. If you slay everyday, say ‘I slay’. If you came to have a good time, say ‘I slay’,” before launching into “Formation” (the song).
After slaying the crowd, Bey moved on to “Sorry,” which ended with the much-publicized lyric, “Becky with the good hair” (as Jay Z notably watched from below) before telling the crowd, “This is a special night for me and I’m so grateful to share it with you all.” Throughout the show, clips from the Lemonade film played center stage on supersized screens.
Just as the sold-out Marlins Park crowd settled in, Beyonce upped the energy with “Girls” before taking a break and an outfit change — into her second of seven leotards of the night, this one white and glittery, paired with thigh-high boots.
While a few fireworks and flames made appearances throughout the evening (and, of course, the wind & smoke machines were on full-speed), the show was decidedly low-key in the way of visual effects. Most of the time, Beyonce was onstage alone or with her dancers (all female by the way, possibly a nod to the “girl power” message she’s been endorsing more than ever before).
Emotion definitely guided the evening’s mood — Bey was overcome when the audience knew all the lyrics to her new song, “Hold Up” (that of the yellow dress/car window smashing), and she often stopped to smile or nod at her exuberant BeyHive. Her feelings were abundantly clear when she called out her old band mate Michelle Williams (“I love you!”), spoke of her daughter and reminded the audience, “I started a long time ago,” before saying, “When I was a little girl I dreamed, I dreamed of this day right here. I don’t know if you all realize — this is a stadium tour that is sold out. You are witnessing my dream right now.”
Just when the cheating rumors and Lemonade topics started to become the elephant in the room, Beyonce announced that she was going to play her “favorite song on the album,” and she moved into “All Night.” She particularly singled out the lyric, “Found the truth beneath your lies and true love never has to hide.” Whether Jay & Bey are truly dealing with infidelity in their marriage or not, the sentiment in the song was undeniably real. Ironically, almost two years ago, the couple stood in this exact same city to kick off their On the Run world tour … while battling the same breakup and cheating rumors.
If act one of Formation was something of a heartfelt plea, act two was decidedly full of vigor. The sequence included a guitar solo (from a woman who many thought was Beyonce herself … she was not), loud pumping bass, a powerful rendition of “Drunk in Love” and the first props of the evening — an acrobat in a hanging box, a sculpture of sorts that Bey danced on and a silver throne for the queen herself.
As if sensing the audience’s need for speed, Beyonce took act three to a place of fun and dance. A particularly memorable moment occurred when she invited two audience members to perform “Single Ladies” with her troupe, and they nailed the entire routine. She also took time to pay tribute to Prince, playing “Purple Rain” on the sound system as the audience lit up their phones in his honor. A mashup of the Fifty Shades of Grey rendition of “Crazy in Love” with her original version that segued into “Bootylicious” was an especially genius move with a large pay-off from the elated crowd.
The final portion of the show was admittedly sexy and even featured some brief 90’s throwbacks such as Annie Lennox’s “Sweet Dreams” and Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl” (a group that was incidentally formed by Prince). The final numbers were performed in a shallow pool of water as Beyonce and her dancers giddily splashed each other (and should anyone ever doubt the singer’s authenticity, the sound clearly went out when her microphone malfunctioned due to the water, i.e. zero lip syncing).
Although Jay Z did not make an onstage appearance, Beyonce made sure to honor him at the end of the show. Shortly after playing their adorable family videos (the same ones seen at the end of the Lemonade film), Bey closed the show with “Halo”, saying, “I want to dedicate this song to my family, thank you guys for supporting me. I want to dedicate this song to my beautiful husband. I love you so much.”
While the launch of the Formation tour wasn’t exactly “epic” in the way of visual stunts and pop-style dance songs, Beyonce nevertheless gave a pure and genuine performance; which consisted of two-plus hours of gorgeous vocals and undoubtedly the best dancing anyone will see this year.
Giving the audience a proper sendoff, Queen B made sure to thank Miami “for a beautiful night”, honor her Divas and acknowledge “everyone from the top to the bottom.”
The Formation tour will span across the U.S. and Europe, with its finale show playing on Aug. 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.
Formation World Tour opening concert set list at Miami’s Marlins Park:
3. Bow Down
6. Baby Boy
7. Hold Up
9. Me, Myself, & I
11. Don’t Hurt Yourself
12. Ring the Alarm
17. Drunk in Love
19. Daddy’s Girl
20. Single Ladies
24. Sweet Dreams
27. End of Time
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