There are three performers that I have vowed to see before I die: Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. After Jackson famously cancelled the entire U.K. leg of her Unbreakable World Tour earlier this year, I was – like many other ticket holders – left hugely disappointed. That’s why last night (July 2), I was even more excited to finally put a big tick next to one of the names on my dream performers list.
From the very start of Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour, it’s almost as if a spell has been put on you, where you cannot control your body or any of your actions. So as soon as the first note of the tour’s title track ‘Formation’ bounces around the stadium, I – along with the 79,999 others that surround me – cannot help but scream. The sound of the crowd as Beyoncé appears via stage riser is electrifying. I have been to many concerts in my time, but I have never heard a crowd as alive as this.
Beyoncé proves her dancing abilities are second to none as she bounces her way through latest single ‘Sorry’, before delivering the vocals to match on a shortened acapella version of 2006’s ‘Irreplaceable’. The party then continues with a medley of ‘Bow Down’ and ‘Run The World (Girls)’, which sees even the most macho of men in the stadium belting the feminist anthems.
After the first of many stunning outfit changes, Queen Bey returns with ‘BEYONCÉ’ album track ‘Mine’ before serving the first real throwback track of the night: ‘Baby Boy’, which transports the sold-out crowd directly back to 2003 as soon as Sean Paul’s vocals are projected into the venue.
‘Hold Up’, the highest charting album track from latest digital drop ‘Lemonade’ in both the U.K. and U.S. follows, with ‘Countdown’ not far behind. The high-energy show then takes a breather with a trio of slower-paced tracks ‘Me, Myself & I’, the Naughty Boy produced ‘Runnin’ (Lose It All)’ and ‘All Night’.
The power anthems then ramp the pace up with the Jack White assisted ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’, ‘Ring The Alarm’ – complete with an ‘Independent Woman Part I’ interlude that, again, send the crowd’s screams soaring – and ‘Diva’.
A medley of Beyoncé’s Nicki Minaj collaborations ‘***Flawless (Remix)’ and ‘Feeling Myself’ lead the show its sexiest interval with ‘Yoncé’, ‘Drunk in Love’, ‘Rocket’ and ‘Partition’ all seeing the star produce some of her raunchiest moves and raspiest vocals.
After disappearing through an actual partition in the screen, Beyoncé once again returns to perform firm fan favourites ‘Daddy Lessons’ and an acapella rendition of ‘Love On Top’ – which the headline performer actually has to interrupt because the crowd won’t stop chanting the chorus repeatedly.
Taking the mood down a notch again, the couples in the crowd got their time to croon to one another along to ‘1+1’ and Prince cover ‘The Beautiful Ones’. The tribute to the late Prince continues with an interlude of ‘Purple Rain’ which beautifully turns the entire stadium the colour of the subject of the song.
The haunting, Fifty Shades version of ‘Crazy In Love’ continues the show before Beyoncé bursts into the original version of the track, which kickstarted the icon’s solo career. ‘Bootylicious’ elicits cries from the Destiny’s Child fans (including myself) in the venue before the throwback continues in the form of ‘Naughty Girl’. ‘Party’ is the soundtrack to explosions of confetti and fireworks spurting from Beyoncé’s eyes on a ginormous revolving screen at the back of the stage.
‘Freedom’ sees Beyoncé and her legion of female dancers performing in a pool of water at the front of the stage, halfway in the middle of the crowd before Beyoncé teases her original fans one last time by encouraging them to join her in a performance of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Survivor’. The show ends with a heavenly performance of ‘Halo’ which saw tears falling from the majority of the sold out crowd.
With talents like Beyoncé’s you don’t necessarily need the gimmicks that this show featured. However, the fireworks, water stages, confetti cannons, and THX supported audio helped The Formation World Tour to be, quite arguably, the best show on earth. I know that personally I have never seen anything as amazing in all of my life and, judging by the timelines of my social media profiles this morning, I’m not alone in that statement. In all honesty, I’m wary to see another show again due to disappointment because I highly doubt anybody will ever come close to putting on a show as superb – ★★★★★