A vision on a 70-foot-tall video monolith that emerged with images of Beyoncé scrolling across, as the anticipation builds while samples of No Angel and Formation were being played, the beat drops and the crowd goes crazy before she came out to perform. You knew you were in for a historic and memorable night before the singer came out for the second of two sold-out concerts at Soldier Field in Chicago on her current The Formation World Tour.
The video monolith slowly separating apart before Beyoncé emerged leading a stage full of female dancers, backing singers and musicians as the leader of a femme-centric legion set in formation to, Formation. Bey had the pulse of the stadium in her hands and got a real rise from the crowd when she went into her infamous “You better call Becky with the good hair” line from one of her latest songs, Sorry before going right into Sorry and then going into her playful Kitty Kat. The first part of her two-hour four-part concert, which also included Bow Down and her classic girl power anthem Run the World (Girls) was very energetic and full of grit that really got the crowd going.
Beyoncé then after a costume change into a white elegant angelic type dress came out to Mine and started showing off some off her African-American heritage by going into a very great and spirited African tribal type dance with her dancers before going into Baby Boy. To which she dirty wound before going into Hold Up where she even took parts of the song by going to the side of the stage to let the fans seated by the stage sing into the mic and then went into Countdown after that. Giving an inspiring speech after that about how thankful she was for all of her fans, who have been with for the most part since she started with Destiny’s Child nearly 19 years ago before performing Me, Myself and I. Telling women how the song was about the most important relationship you have too, which is with yourself.
One of the true highlights of the night came next when the singer let her guitarist go into a very amazing rendition of 6 Inch/I Care/Ghost during a costume change and that segue into her guitarist live playing samples of 6 Inch and Kanye West’s New Slaves, as Beyoncé came out to one of my favorite songs from her right now that I play at ignorant levels whenever I hear it with the ballistic guitar-stoked Don’t Hurt Yourself. A queen’s chair then was brought out for Queen Bey to sit along before going into Ring the Alarm and showing off her amazing dance moves with verve and grace to a mix of Lost Yo Mind/I Been On/Naughty Girl/ and Independent Women Part I. She actually even kept routine with her dancers rather than going and stepping out in front like most divas do to do their own thing. Ironically enough Beyoncé went into Diva right after that too.
While she may look and appear to be flawless too, like she suggested when she went into one of her more popular records ever with Flawless, not everything about the singer is as perfect and Pop Cleopatra like as it was when she first broke free from her record setting group Destiny’s Child a little over a decade ago to go solo. This new version of Beyoncé was more imperfect and relatable to a majority of her fans than she has been in year’s past. One who didn’t care about making a mess of her own hair and wardrobe, as she confronted and sweated out the symbolic messiness and issues of her own life. She showed even though we may think of her as perfect, she really is a lot more just like me and you.
This was definitely front and center too on records like her back-porch country-blues backed record, Daddy Lessons, were Bey tells the story of being raised in Texas as her Daddy’s little girl and all the lessons he taught her growing up. A record just like her ballads 1+1 and Love on Top were she was really able to show off her amazing singing ability quite well on her own, without any backing tracks like most singers use nowadays when they perform.
From that point on to the last quarter of the show was by far her most memorable and best part of the show. As Beyoncé gave a very amazing acapella of Love on Top that had her with a prodigious ear to ear smile, as she walked down the long walkway singing the song with all of the Soldier Field crowd sing along word for word with her. A stripped-down version of Prince’s classic, The Beautiful Ones was played before during a costume change Bey paid tribute to the late icon with the video monolith turning all purple, as Purple Rain blared through the speakers and the whole crowd had all their lights going and sang along so perfectly and seamlessly to The Purple One’s classic record. Which was quite symbolic too seeing that Beyoncé is if not the only one, just one of the few that me and this current generation can claim as musicians from the last 15-20 plus years or so that can be seen as iconic or near iconic in the way that Prince, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston were. With how she performed with her singing so gracefully and mostly on her own, keeping pace with her dancers throughout most of the dance segments and going nearly the whole time without hardly any breaks in between it showed why Bey is the true definition of a complete entertainer that can do it all and always give you your money worth with her performances. It was quite fitting that the record most people remember her for as a solo artist Crazy in Love was the next record she played too with Beyoncé even sampling parts of her Destiny’s Child classic Bootylicious into part of the end of that part of the performance.
It was almost like an actual party with confetti dropping everywhere when the singer went into Party with samples of the Hip-Hop classic La Di Da Di by Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew that are part of the song being played before she went into Blow and her final interlude with Die with You and Blue. The part about Beyoncé really not caring about making a mess of her outfits or getting wet really held true when while donning a glowing elegant angelic white body suit Bey and her backing dancers came out to the front of the long walkway to her own wading pool, which was a recreation of a baptismal front that they splashed around in, as she performed Freedom, her classic Destiny’s Child song, Survivor, End of Time and before finally going into Halo.
The relationship that she showed throughout the show by interacting so much with her fans whether it was talking with them, letting them sing into her mic, stopping and taking towels fans had for her to wipe off sweat or just having signs that they wanted her to sign and she did. She showed that as she said just before performing Halo to close the show that she is much more than me and you than most of us really truly think and if you have dreams and aspirations, you can also do them just like her. You may have trials and tribulations while trying to achieve them, but if she is living her dream like she is then you can too, just as long as you work hard at it and don’t stop no matter who tries to stop you from reaching your goals.