High praises and endearing terms are synonymous with the mention of Beyoncé and Jay Z, words that aren’t just from mouths of adoring fans and supporters but from their peers, their idols and from critics also. Yup, they’ll tell you their music “just isn’t their cup of tea” but if they were honest with themselves they would clear up any put down of their talents or influence in the next breath. The critical acclaim isn’t hype or superficial but proven and displayed in many forms but particularly when they’re on stage and it’s no different this time around as they headline their joint On The Run Tour.
The married duo teamed up this summer to give fans what has been a growing craving since rumors began to swirl in the early 2000’s of a romance after the groups 1st song together, [03 Bonnie and Clyde] a glimpse into their personal lives or better yet their relationship. Over the years they’ve opened up more and more about their long-time love through dozens of collaborations, videos and interviews but still remained very reserved in display of public affection until now. The On the Run tour can only be identified as that filling bite in finally satisfying our appetites.
After such a great time experiencing the show in Philadelphia I’m actually going to spare you in giving the concert a play by play in review. I don’t think it’s fair to you. You have to see it on your own. You don’t want me spoiling the entire set list, the order of the songs; what lyrics they switched up or wardrobe changes (if you’ve not already taken to their websites or YouTube videos for this already). What I will say is the live experiences these two give are only getting bigger and better with each new effort. Being a supporter of both J & B for years now I’ve been to countless shows put on by the two. I’ve seen Jay solo, with Kanye and Justin Timberlake last summer during the Legends of The Summer tour. Seen Bey multiple times, hell I ended up at the Mrs. Carter Show tour three times last year alone. And we all know it’s nothing like partying with friends and listening to your favorite songs! On The Run felt exactly like that. You’re in a crowd with your new friends [for the evening anyway] and you’re singing along, while the Carter’s perform over forty songs in almost three hours. Moving through clever transitions whether it be a play on words like when Beyoncé belts the lyrics “Why Don’t You Love me” from her song with the same title into “Why I love you so much”, lyrics originally sang by Timberlake from Jay’s “Holy Grail”. Or mixing the beat from one song into another so seamlessly you barely realize it until the voice through the speakers change.
And while it’s popular opinion that the two have mastered perfecting their shows in the past, what sets this one apart in particular is their chemistry. To borrow Jay’s lyrics from 03 Bonnie and Clyde, “whatever she lacks, I’m right over her shoulder/ When I'm off track, mami is keeping me focused...” is displayed in various moments, like when Jay Z came into his verse on Bonnie and Clyde too soon and Beyoncé gave him eye contact signaling just that and it instantly reminds him where they are in the song. The playful banter and flirting displayed during their latest hit from Beyoncé's self titled album, “Drunk In Love” that results in a rosy-cheeked Beyoncé smiling uncontrollably.
And the montage of personal family footage that includes a few clear views of daughter Blue Ivy, the couple seemingly forgets we're there for a moment and gawks at the huge screens alongside us as if they’ve never seen the footage before themselves. The stadium tour is giving fans exactly what they want. A reenactment of the PDA insinuated in the couples lyrics for the past decade, blends of the their latest hits and blasts from the past while incorporating new styles of performing their songs mixed with the classic styles we’ve seen before, its familiar but still very new. And while I was pretty surprised that songs like Déjà Vu and the catchy tune Hollywood, the couple both have versions of weren’t performed, its easy to overlook those factors when there is so many other highlights to recall. You simply wont rest well if you have a want to see this show, and you don’t. I’m going again next week.
Photo Credit: Mason Poole/Robin Harper