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Beyonce kicked off the first of four nights in her sold-out concert series 4 Intimate Nights With Beyonce at New York’s Roseland Ballroom on Sunday night.
Backed by an all-female band, the singer performed songs from her latest album, 4, as well as previous hits from her solo career and time as part of Destiny’s Child.
So what did the critics think about her performance?
“There aren’t many artists in the world that can pull off a 90-minute set in Stuart Weitzman heels and leave a beyond packed audience satisfied to the point of not needing an encore,” wrote Billboard’s Erika Ramirez.
Beyonce pleased the roughly 3,200 fans in attendance with such songs as “Crazy in Love,” “Irreplaceable” and “Single Ladies” before segueing into more recent tracks, Ramirez wrote.
“Beyonce moved into 4 with opening track ‘1 +1,’ wrapped up in smoke and red hued lights, reminiscent to her performance on the American Idol finale,” she wrote. “Bey’ kneeled above a white piano to sing the ballad with impeccability.”
Rolling Stone’s Jody Rosen wrote that, despite the concert series’ title, the show was anything but intimate.
Roseland “is much quainter than the venues Beyonce normally plays,” Rosen wrote. “But even without the hi-tech trappings of her arena shows or a single costume change (she wore a gold lame mini-dress from start to finish), a Beyonce concert is a big, blowsy affair, a bit like a Las Vegas floor show crossed with a typhoon. ‘Intimate’ is not the adjective that leaps to mind. By the time the singer and her 19-member all-female backing group finished whipping through the opening number, a snippet of the Jackson 5’s ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are,’ Roseland seemed a lot less cozy. This is a woman who can make a club feel like a coliseum.”
Still, Rosen had good things to say about Beyonce’s performances, calling “Party” “beatific and lovely” and “Love on Top” a “vintage soul showcase.”
Meanwhile, Jon Caramanica of the New York Times wrote that Beyonce had a good rapport with the audience.
“In her performance, it’s always clear that a finely tuned engine is at work, but what was refreshing here was that it was in service of a surprisingly casual manner,” he wrote. “She made funny, exaggerated faces; twirled her hair (when it wasn’t floating); and spoke to the crowd like a knowing buddy. She was working off a teleprompter for her between-song patter, but improvising frequently, and for the better.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Jozen Cummings was impressed with Beyonce’s ability to change key four times on “Love on Top” and add choreographed moves to “End of Time” and “Countdown” without “cracking her huge voice.”
Cummings noted the show had no encore.
“After Beyonce closed out the show with the power ballad ‘I Was Here,’ the crowd was chanting for an encore, but there would be none,” Cummings wrote. “And though it seemed to be somewhat of a soft landing for such a roller coaster of a show, it was a fitting way to go out. This was an intimate night between Beyonce and her fans, one in which there need not be a specific stand-out moment.”
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