Beyoncé and Jay-Z
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
What’s better than one billionaire? Definitely two. But in the case of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, especially these two. The pair, clearly one of this generation’s musical power couples, closed out their On the Run II tour last night, filling Seattle’s CenturyLink Field with hoards of ardent fans for a show that—despite prolonged sound difficulties—delivered exactly what those fans came for.
After hours of patiently waiting and several fake-outs when the background music would drop and the crowd would start to roar only to end up waiting more…the lights finally went dark and the giant screens behind the stadium-wide stage flickered to life. Intimate scenes of the couple and, notably, their children, played across the screens. The gangster. The queen. Beds strewn with money. Prayers in lonely churches. If one thing is for sure, this is a couple who have carefully curated a vision, and we’re all bought in.
Then the back screens split apart and there they were, all aglow, holding hands, to “Holy Grail,” all glitter and lights, smiles, and professionalism. In the span of the first track they threw in the requisite Nirvana cover, plenty of booty shaking—on Bey’s part of course—and then there it was. Suddenly the sound fell out. And to their credit, the artists didn’t miss a beat. The sound stuttered away, and the crowd barely seemed to notice.
They proceeded with a 43-track setlist, many of which consisted of only a single verse or chorus followed by indulgent dance sequences, making the show feel like they covered plenty of ground without ever getting stagnant. In the first 30 minutes of the two-plus-hour set, Jay-Z had more wardrobe changes than B, though she quickly caught up with glittery bodysuit after glittery bodysuit.
Overall, the show kept the crowd on their toes, going from throwback bangers to more recent, emotionally-charged ballads and back again. While a few of the transitions were a bit awkward, both artists performed spotlessly, and when performing together, with the same magical chemistry that initially endeared them to their fans. From the big band to the dancers to the pyrotechnics and moving stage, even if you stripped back the production, the appeal is still there, in B. In J. In the magic.
Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Raven Varona/Parkwood/PictureGroup
Beyoncé and Jay-Z