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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 20, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 21
Beyoncé slays at CenturyLink Field
Arts & Entertainment
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Beyoncé slays at CenturyLink Field

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

BEYONCÉ
THE FORMATION TOUR
CENTURYLINK FIELD
May 18


Beyoncé's visit to CenturyLink Field Wednesday evening left behind blown minds and scorched earth, both figuratively and perhaps literally, given the blazing pyrotechnics. At 34, the singer has mastered her art in a way that few performers do in a lifetime. Following on the heels of the critically acclaimed Lemonade album and film, The Formation Tour's Seattle stop revealed a woman at the top of her game. Like Tina Turner and Madonna at the peak of their success, at this moment everything Beyoncé does is golden. The message: girl power; conquering life's slings and arrows. The delivery: stealthily dropping albums that get the whole world clamoring for Tidal memberships and HBO. The music and moves: gorgeous, modern - she's never been better. And finally, the controversy: didn't like her Superbowl performance or 'Formation' video? Pick up a 'Boycott Beyoncé' T-shirt at the merch booth at any stop on the tour.

Lemonade is Beyoncé's most experimental album yet (her R&B, hip-hop, and pop stylings filtered through the lens of genres she not only explores but 'slays') and she romped through most of it Wednesday night as well as through just about all her releases. Opening with a cadre of dancers in the wide funeral hats familiar from the 'Formation' video, the song's intro built excitement in the stadium to a fever pitch as the dancers stalked toward center stage and down a catwalk extending halfway across the field. From there the entire evening was a blur of ferocious dance and a whirlwind of non-stop hits old and new, from 'Sorry,' 'Kitty Kat,' and 'Flawless' to 'Run The World (Girls),' 'Rocket,' and 'Drunk In Love.' Covers were in no short supply and carefully chosen - The Doors' 'Five To One' and Prince's 'The Beautiful Ones' were particular standouts well-suited to Bey's current musical mood.

Fueled by cutting edge visuals and water effects - yes, there was indeed a pool of water - songs like the Jack White throwdown 'Don't Hurt Yourself' and 'Freedom' managed to get even the farthest reaches of the stadium into the action. Pillars of flame and fireworks accompanied a rotating monolithic video structure that projected dazzling images of video and real time concert footage, at times stylized or with cutaway sections in which Beyoncé and her dancers actually appeared in little boxes set within the wall and projected in images on all sides. The effect was amazing.

Aside from angry musings on betrayal and real or imagined revenge, older songs like 'Me, Myself & I' and 'Survivor' took on new implications in light of the personal betrayals she sings so openly about on her last two releases. She sounds like a fully-grown woman now, one that's no longer naively in love, but one who has arrived somewhere deeper with eyes wide open. Songs like '1 + 1,' and the final songs 'End of Time' and 'Halo' seemed to finally arrive signaling her acceptance and belief in love after forgiveness, thus ending the show's emotional arc.

Watching Beyoncé do what she was so clearly born to do is an experience to be inspired and awed by. As we mourn the recent losses of some of the last of the true greats, Prince and David Bowie, it brings hope to witness firsthand the absolutely mind-blowing energy and finely honed talent that Beyoncé has perfected. She is the most thrilling living reminder that sheer star power - the kind that inspires, awes, and brings hugely impactful joy to music fans of every gender and age - can still, and does still, exist. Long live Queen B!

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Beyoncé slays at CenturyLink Field
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