Source: Amy Harris/Rex/REX USA
As a member of the Beygency myself, I can’t promise that this review won’t be slightly biased. After all, Beyoncé can do no wrong. I’m sure many Bay Area residents would agree with me. Even without the numerous costumes, backup dancers, and seizure-inducing lights, the concert still would have sold out within minutes.
As if Beyoncé wasn’t successful enough, her popularity skyrocketed after the surprise digital release of her self-titled album in December of 2013. Beyoncé was an instant hit in part because it was a visual album. The pop star filmed beautiful, distinctive music videos for every song. For those who had seen the videos, the concert was especially delightful, as the ambiances from the short films were recreated on the live stage. But the videos weren’t the only good part of the album.
The content of the songs is different from Beyoncé’s previous albums because of the strong themes of feminism. “Pretty Hurts” shows how expectations of beauty and perfection for young women can be detrimental, while “***Flawless” includes a monologue by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian feminist writer. But the album was well balanced, as there were fun and energetic songs as well as slower, meaningful ones.
The concert also had wild, lively periods with calmer songs interspersed, which gave the audience chances to sit down and take a break from dancing. Unlike other concerts I’ve attended, Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed music dating from as long ago as 1998. They also performed many tracks from the mid-2000s and of course the most popular singles off of Beyoncé’s recent album.
The transitions between songs were extremely smooth. I would be enjoying one song and suddenly it would turn into another. As Jay-Z was finishing a rap, Beyoncé would emerge from behind purple fog in an extravagant new costume and begin singing backup vocals for the next number.
Part of the appeal of the concert was that both Jay-Z and Beyoncé performed, attracting both a strong male and female audience. Every kind of fan attended, from 12-year-old fan girls to 35-year-old married couples. The set list included something for everyone, with a nice mixture of pop and rap songs.
At the end of the night, the entire stadium lit up with the glow of thousands of cell phones, as the duo performed “Young Forever.” After the concert, the audience members felt a sense of community as we poured out of the building. We felt that we had just witnessed something special and rare. We had attended a phenomenal party hosted by two of the greatest performers of our time.