Last weekend, I broke every social media rule about posting frequency for one reason and one reason only: Beyoncé.
We Woke Up Like This
I’ll get to Beyoncé soon, but this is my personal blog, so y’all will have to deal with a bit of personal narrative.
Brittany and I started the evening with makeup and margaritas. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to makeup, so Brittany helped me craft my Bey face.
Brittany’s parents urged us to take jackets and umbrellas, but with the valiant chutzpah of youth we rebelled, agreeing to take but one jacket between us two.
We took the shuttle from Old Town Pasadena and arrived at the Rose Bowl several hours early. They had some food stands and whatnot set up. Protip: They only take cash. Protip part two: They sell you Blue Moon in cans.
Two overpriced Blue Moons and a “Red Carpet” shoot later, we entered the Rose Bowl, ready to get our Yoncé on.
Thousands milled into the Rose Bowl from every ethnicity and walk of life, although there did seem to be quite a few females. Women wore t-shirts and dresses, shorts and pants – whatever they damn well wanted. “This is Not Real Life” was emblazoned across the stage.
Now, for those of you not currently in the Los Angeles area, you need to understand something about the weather we’ve been having. It’s been muggy and tropical, and it had rained on the concert the night before. And low and behold, ten minutes after the concert was supposed to start, the skies opened up and we thanked gods old and new for our lone jacket.
The week before the concert, a freak lightning bolt hit Venice Beach mere yards away from where I was standing as I waited for my very late friends. Getting struck by lightning had therefore been added to list of potential hazards in public places and I warily eyed the giant metal apparatus in the middle of the stadium.
But then Queen Bey demanded that the rain gods cease* and they complied just in time for the show to begin.
(*At least I imagined that’s what happened backstage.)
Bow Down Bitches
It was the second night of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Los Angeles stop of their On the Run Tour, an epic evening of bright lights and female empowerment that most recently shut down San Francisco.
The concert started with a short film leading into a high-energy rendition of “Crazy in Love.” With no opening act, the two stars tag-teamed for over two hours, switching between solo acts, duets and New Wave-esque films. Think this:
But in black and white.
Beyoncé was the immaculate diva with the presence and showmanship that the title demands. She was out there one high-energy performance after another, and she could simply stand on the stage to get deafening cheer.
It was fairly obvious for whom everyone came: Jay-Z’s songs were, from time to time, an excuse to sit down and rest your high-heeled feet. I almost felt bad for Jay at time to time, but in the words of my father, “He’s a billionaire married to Beyoncé.” So you can’t really feel that bad. (Although technically he’s only a multi-millionaire.)
Female empowerment was the theme of the night. Early on, they played the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sample from Bey’s epic anthem “***Flawless”, and flashed the word FEMINIST on the screens in huge letters for all to see. In light of the recent spat of women – celebs and non-celebs alike – disavowing feminism, it was amazing to watch the biggest star of our day proudly integrate it into her performance.
By the end, I genuinely believe everyone felt flawless.
Another amazingly empowering moment came during “Who Run the World (Girls)”, when Beyoncé took a moment to speak to us all:
“Ladies… If you have your own shit… if you have your own money… if you used your own money to get you here tonight.”
Not gonna lie: It was a little fun to look at all the awkward boyfriends stand around while their girlfriends cheered and effectively disavowed them.
Jay and Bey kept up the high energy for most of the show. I very much wanted “99 Problems” to lead directly into “Single Ladies,” but sadly I believe there was a number of two between them. The energy started to lag a bit in the middle – probably because the audience was completely fatigued from all the dancing they’d done for the previous hour and a half – but Jay brought it back up again with a solo version of “N*****s in Paris.” The show began purposely slowing down towards the end for ballads like “Pretty Hurts.”
The show ended with a heartfelt mashup of “On the Run” and “Forever Young” going into “Halo.” Mr. and Mrs. Carter brought us back to the opening visual: the worlds “This is Real Life” flashed across the stage as they played home videos and clips with their adorable baby Blue Ivy.
I am not ashamed to admit I started crying a bit. (I watched the above video as I was writing this blog post and started tearing up in my backyard.) Pundits might be debating the state of their marriage, but with an ending like that, how could you not believe in love?
I Got 99 Problems (And Every Single One of Them is a Minute Waiting for the Shuttle)
There was, of course, the whole issue of the Rose Bowl shuttle. I will let my angry tweets speak for themselves:
So maybe it was more like an hour change since we’d gotten in line, but still.
Our bus driver played some Spanish-language ballad or something on the way back (the woman behind us declared, “I’d rather listen to silence then this”) but our high-heeled feet were damn glad for our seats.
Despite ending on a clusterfuck, it was a night to remember. Time will forever be divided into two eras: BB (Before Beyoncé) and AD (“In the Year of Our Queen”, roughly translated from the original Latin). Brittany and I left the concert ready to run the world.
If you want to watch highlights, someone compiled some clips of the concert in another city: