BEYONCÉ SIZZLES AT BARCLAYS CENTER
By Derrel “Jazz” Johnson
Superstar singer Beyoncé performed at Barclays Center three straight evenings during the first week in August to the delight of tens of thousands of fans. As The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 2013 invaded Brooklyn, her only performances in New York City. It wasn’t her first time on stage at Barclays Center, as she joined her husband, Jay-Z for the eighth and final show of his historic run that opened the Barclays Center in September 2012. Mr. Carter returned the favor at the Monday night show, as he joined his wife on stage wearing all black, including a cap on backwards and three chains around his neck to perform “Tom Ford” off his Magna Carta Holy Grail album. With the lyrics referring to a woman from H-Town, there is no doubt he is talking about his wife, and Beyoncé, wearing black and gold herself, joined in on the chorus to end the performance before Jay-Z left the stage.
Beyoncé has an elaborate stage setup, one fitting a star of her magnitude. This year has been a historic one for her, both as a performer and in her personal life. She began 2013 by performing at halftime during the highest rated television event of the year, the Super Bowl, and her performance stands as the most Tweeted about moment in history, at 268,000 Tweets per minute. This year also saw Beyoncé and Jay-Z visit Cuba for their fifth wedding anniversary, has saw her world tour begin, and saw her first child, Blue Ivy, turn one. Not that you would know that Beyoncé has children, as she hasn’t seem to have lost a step while dancing, and her flawless figure is the envy of many, and looks as amazing as ever.
Mrs. Carter opens the show with Who Runs the World off of her fourth album, appropriately titled ‘4’. She is joined by what seems like an army (eight in total) of female dancers, all clad in white, and there are two large screens above the stage, one on the left, another on the right, so that, no matter where you are sitting in Barclays Center, you have a great view of the action on stage. Beyoncé also has a number of dizzying graphics on a huge screen that essentially takes up the entire stage, and many images are displayed before songs, and during quick wardrobe changes. Other songs performed off her most recent studio album included 1+1, Party, Love on Top, I Care, I Miss You, and End of Time. After a costume change, Beyoncé appears onstage with a glittering black leotard and matching hat. She performs her hit “Baby Boy”, and with a track of Sean Paul’s voice, with whom she recorded the song, she and her eight dancers performed the dance Dutty Wine, which had many in the Barclays Center audience cheering wildly, with some even doing the dance as well.
The former Sasha Fierce also does a set on a second stage, where she performs songs with a minimalistic feel and without dancers. She wears a shiny blue body suit on this stage as she sings her hit Irreplaceable, and perhaps my personal favorite song of hers, Love on Top, for which she won a Grammy earlier this year, the 17th of her incredible career.
The former Destiny’s Child lead singer only performed one song from the group’s catalog, Survivor, and also sung the theme song to the CBS sitcom The Jeffersons, which she must be familiar with from reruns, as she was three years old when its original television run ended. No Beyoncé show would be complete without her performing her first big hit as a solo artist, Crazy in Love. She performed this after her set on the smaller stage, which was an encore after fans demanded more from the star. She also performed two songs that are rumored to be on her forthcoming fifth studio album, Grown Woman and Bow Down, to the delight of fans.
She ended the show with a beautiful rendition of the song made most popular by Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” and then went into her hit “Halo” which no doubt seemed to be an ode to the child that she lost in a miscarriage that was revealed by Jay-Z after the birth of Blue Ivy. She wore a white top with swirling black accents, and white pants.
“I’m actually a bit nervous to be on this stage,” Beyoncé said during the show, but I’ve been told that a little bit of nervous energy helps you perform better, and that was certainly the case for this show. An incredible entertainer with a catalog of hits that spans hours, Beyoncé is a must-see on tour. Her tour ends in December, so if you are able to catch her, do yourself a favor and purchase tickets. She will be in New York City again at Barclays Center on December 19 and December 22. Sounds like a great pre-holiday gift. You’ll thank me later.