Concert review by WTOP Contributor Tyler Jeffries
BALTIMORE — A dance troupe of 20-plus Amazons. Frenetic choreography. A rotating screen-cube-monolith. Fireballs as long as school buses.
And all of this on display in only the first 15 minutes of the show.
Friday night Beyoncé’s Formation Tour landed at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, touching down with all the ferocity of a category 6 hurricane making landfall. To a sold-out crowd of more than 50,000 card-carrying “Bey-Hive” loyalists, Ms. Carter ripped through a two-hour set that was big on bombast and small on subtlety. And it ruled.
Or, more precisely, she ruled.
Clad in an oversized fedora that may as well have doubled as a crown, “Queen B” took the stage to the tune of “Formation” with all-female militia trailing behind. From the opening echos of the track it was quickly apparent that this was something different, something special: the artist in her prime, an alien touching down to abduct the senses of an entire NFL complex.
The setlist spanned all of her deep catalog, hitting nearly every touchstone of her career. An especially sultry take on “Dangerously in Love,” the anthemic “Flawless,” and a half-dozen cuts from her most recent opus “Lemonade” (yes, they do sound as good in a stadium as you would expect.) Noticeably absent was “Single Ladies,” a simple admission of its tiredness or a more symbolic decision?
Not a soul seemed to notice the omission however, nor did anyone stop moving through the 120 minute ceremony for that matter. Young and old, male and female, one could assume from scanning the crowd that Beyoncé caters to the most diverse audience in pop music. If there is a single consistent trait of this mob it’s the fashion sense: All patrons were dressed to the nines, clad in the most eccentric of costumes trying nobly to match the outlandish costumes of Her Highness.
Seconds into the show’s open Beyoncé implored the crowd to “slay,” shorthand for “kill it. But if any figurative dragon was slain Friday night it was her competition in popular music. Indeed Beyoncé in all of her military-esque regalia, slayed. Mission accomplished.
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