Beyoncé’s shift into making music that is both politically and more emotionally conscious has been utterly inspirational, unapologetic and beautiful. As a musician, Beyoncé has always been something of an enigma. Once perceived as shy and withdrawn, she went as far to label her own alter ego Sasha Fierce, to identify a stage persona that was more confident than her.
It was welcome news when she stated that “I don’t need Sasha Fierce anymore, because I’ve grown and now I’m able to merge the two”. Beyoncé had no need to dilute herself and this was fully realised in her thrilling display on her first night at Wembley Stadium for her UK leg of her Formation World Tour. It felt as if she was delivering a masterclass on what it meant to be an entertainer.
Here are the top 5 lessons I learnt from watching Queen Bey do her thing.
“If you proud of who you are and where you come from say I slay”- Beyoncé
Beyoncé opened the concert with the ferocious call to realise your self-worth with the affirming number ‘Formation’. With her chanting incessantly “I slay”, the inspiring delivery made it known that now is the time to get in the formation and join the unified movement of loving yourself. This strong stance of being proud of what makes you unique was apparent throughout the night, especially when she said the best relationship you have is the one with yourself (damn right) before belting on the throwback jam “Me, Myself and I”.
With the fierce trinity ‘Bow Down‘, ‘Flawless‘ and ‘Feeling Myself‘ Beyoncé made it known that nobody can do it like her. She “Changed the game when that Lemonade dropped” and indeed she did. There was a clear message, wake up and confidently know that you are enough, if anyone tries to tell you any different, don’t pay them any attention and carry on slaying.
Over a decade ago Beyonce and her destiny child comrades Kellly & Michelle wanted all the independent women to throw their hands up.
In 2016, the ladies still need a little encouragement to realise they don’t need to depend on anyone and Beyonce is on hand to let them know they ‘Run The World’. When the sound of her latest hit ‘Sorry’ started blaring out the stadium speakers, everyone was chanting word for word “I ain’t sorry” and happily sticking their middle fingers up high in glorious defiance. The message is simple. Discovering a cheating beau is never easy but don’t let them believe they’re hurting you, they’re only hurting themselves. Pick yourself right up and realise you can survive on your own.
When Beyonce shrieked “Who the fuck do you think I am” on the relentless rock-tinged ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself‘ it was the moment I was waiting for and made even sweeter by the roaring live band. Suffering for love isn’t happening over here so let your cheating lover think that their ‘Irreplaceable‘ (which she beautifully sang acoustically) and find out that the grass isn’t greener on the other side with Becky with the Good Hair.
“Through the good and the bad still got love”- Countdown
Lovers sometimes become complacent and need a little reminding about what brought them together in the first place. When the horns of the reggae jaunt ‘Hold Up’ filled the stadium, Beyonce let the audience know that when things are on the low a gentle reminder to a lover that “They don’t love you like I love you” will get them reminiscing about how they got it good. And when it’s good boy it’s a lot of fun, leading to the crowd raucously shouting to ‘Drunk In Love’ and celebrate being lost in infatuation. Later she called the soulful ‘All Night’ her favourite on LEMONADE as it’s a testament to trusting love again and acknowledging that “true love’s the greatest weapon to end the war caused by pain”.
You could see on her face she sincerely felt the words and impressively showed off her astonishing vocal range on the calmer moments especially on the highlight ‘Love On Top’. Acoustically delivering the lyrics with her soft falsettos and captivating vocal runs it made the audience of 90,000 people sing along louder and longer than she intended. Making her ode to putting love on top my favourite moment in the concert.
“I’m a keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves”- Freedom
A real highlight was when Beyonce performed her song ‘Freedom’ with her dancers and stomped and writhed in the cathartic water finale where she turned her B stage into an illuminated paddling pool. The inspirational lyrics of the song spoke to me as sometimes it’s hard to keep going when you come up against roadblocks in life that you can‘t see your way out of. It is tempting to lie down and quit or be prevented from moving forward by being scared of the unknown. I primarily set up this blog out of frustration that I wasn’t using my mind to create content that spoke about things I was really passionate about. No matter what I come up against in life there is always a voice within me that keeps me persevering because I want nothing more than to achieve my goals.
Beyoncé mentioned that the first concert she ever went to was Michael Jackson’s and was so inspired that she dreamed of performing in stadiums and look where she is today. No other female musician had soley toured a stadium tour before Beyoncé and she could’ve easily put it off until someone else did. However, she didn’t quit on herself and got to work following out her dream. The Formation Tour is evidence that hard work and determination goes a long way when you leave fear in the imaginary world it belongs and action your dreams fearlessly in reality.
“Give them hoes what they came to see”- Big Freedia’s opening tour speech.
Once you entered the stadium you were greeted by a 60 feet tall rotating LED box called a Monolith. It was unlike anything I had ever seen and Beyoncé really used it to its full effect, no matter where you were in the stadium you were able to see her magnified magnificently. The Monolith served as the only stage prop and it was definitely multifunctional- splitting in half revealing suspended dancers, showcasing a touching Prince tribute and providing delightful close-ups of her live band. At one point during the wonderful video interludes, the Beyoncé on the Monolith reached down and pulled up a screen that revealed the real Beyonce and her dancers in a sliding mirror box to perform ‘Partition‘. Visuals for that reason were mesmerising and a real lesson in how to do an entertaining stadium concert.
Beyoncé is also well known for being an entertaining dancer and singer, providing many slick choreographed numbers and she gave a nod to the British Grime scene by dancing to Skepta and JME’s ‘That’s Not Me‘ during her ‘Diva‘ dance break. It’s not easy to dance and sing at the same time and Beyoncé made it look so easy with her powerful voice not faulting once. Her voice has gotten even better over time and is truly a commanding force often elevating her music. I am pretty sure I will never experience anything like this again, you left the stadium feeling on such a high and amazed at how one person can be so talented.