Written by Ashley Friedman
Well, I’ve got 99 problems, but a Jay-Z and Beyonce concert ain’t one. The power couple slayed Saturday night in a near 42 song performance. 42 songs! No wonder they are such a power couple. With a combined net worth of almost $1.255 Billion, Beyonce’ and Jay-Z took to the stage to deliver one of the best performances Buffalo and the world have ever seen. The concert was not only one to go to, but one to remember.
Welcome to New Era Field.
Rather than lining up the parking lot will NFL teams the Bills blue, white and red, we now see custom “Bey” and “IVY Park” t-shirts, Yankee Hats, and that iconic Beyonce’ gold. The atmosphere is humming with classic Beyonce’ and Jay-Z tunes that are initiating many dance-offs. The people are happy and excited, mowing down on their food and drinks before actually entering the stadium.
The night starts off with Chloe and Halle. The girls are decked out in sequins from head to toe. Their outfits are conservative, yet “grown” showing just a little bit of skin. Having just released their first album in March, The Kids Are Alright, the girls are well on their way to making a name for themselves; No auto-tune or lip syncing, the vocals were raw, pure and unique to the industry. The duo performed a quick set, about 7 songs, before the show moved onto another one, DJ Khaled.
Before getting on stage, the OTR II backdrop displays “We The Best Music” before cutting to a video of DJ Khaled and son Asahd. Khaled, not just well known for his producing, but also being the Father of Asahd, comes out on stage to “All I Do Is Win” a song from Khaled‘s fourth studio album Victory. His demeanor is down to earth as he shows off a few of his dance moves and then stares down the audience with a look that says act like you didn’t see that. After a few more songs of getting the crowd pumped up, including a crowd-sung rendition of Bodak Yellow, Khaled jumps in to talk about his first time to Buffalo, including visiting one of the more popular steakhouses in the area. He then goes on to talk more about his son and the importance of family. At the end of his set, he notes that his new studio album is something he’s taken his time on, but will be ready to release before the end of the year? Don’t quote me. Another one.
It’s time for the headliners, the crowd is ecstatic and pouring in to grab their spots. They’ve got Drake, Rihanna and Cardi B mixed with Khaled vibes running through their body. Then the stadium gets dark, the crowd goes wild and Queen B and Jay-Z’s OTR II video pops up on the big screen. OTR, “On The Run” is the idea of a Bonnie and Clyde type relationship, as the show progresses the story progresses and we see the ups and downs of what seems like a flawless relationship from so far away. The video is honest and showcases the reality of how things are, versus how the media, public, fans perceive this power couples relationship. It’s Beyonce and Jay-Z’s perspective, as it should be.
Their set starts with the classic “Holy Grail,” setting the mood for the rest of the show and the idea that goes well with their theme. The lyrics “And baby It’s amazing I’m in this maze with you…” all the way to “Sipping from your cup ’til it runneth over, Holy Grail” couldn’t fit things more perfectly.
In the middle of the stadium is a runway lined with lighting, a piece that we see throughout the show light up per beat, song, lyric, you name it. There are numerous spotlights around the stage shining from all the way from the top of the 300 section. The backdrop is three video screens long and in and out of the performances we see a glass cube case (think Hollywood Squares style) that contains everyone from within the instrumentals to the dancers for the show. For some songs, we see fire shooting out of machines (yes, real fire) that adds to the overall kickassness of the show.
Both artists had intimate moments with the crowd. Jay-Z, wearing a plain black t-shirt, a pair of jeans and his iconic hat sings an emotionally driven “Song Cry,” at the end of the runway. The crowd lighting up the stadium with their lights. This was one moment in the concert where you could see Jay-Z’s breathe just taken away by how in tune the crowd was from their lights, to singing the lyrics. To Jay-Z the moment seemed perfect and unforgettable, and you could definitely see that on his face as he responds to the crowd at the end of the song with a genuine and emotional “wow.” Then in comes Beyonce, wearing an orange, almost petticoat styled dress, classy and elegant graces the runway, sitting at the end and sings an emotional “Resentment.” The crowd sings along with her, tears running down some of their faces as they relate to each and every lyric within the song.
Beyonce’ performs hits from “Baby Boy” to “Run The World” and even goes back to her Destiny’s Child days with “Say My Name.” Meanwhile, Jay-Z takes us back to 1999 with “Big Pimpin” to “Run This Town,” all the way to his well-known collaboration on Kanye’s “Clique.” The power couple comes back together for hits like “Crazy In Love” and “Drunk In Love.” Together and individually they have a swag, a confidence that is invigorating and intoxicating and as a person in the crowd, you can’t help but be taken away by the amount of “power” and “boss status” in the stadium.