US Airways Center
Saturday, December 7
Have you ever met Mrs. Carter? She's a sweet southern belle with a voice not to be reckoned with. Despite all the glitz and glamour, Mrs. Carter is a badass, sexy woman at heart, one who happened to promise me this: "I'll be your naughty girl tonight."
Right at that moment there was a huge explosion of glitter, like a premature climax. From the front of the stage all the way toward the end of the stadium, the crowd was covered in gold. It was the combination of the blast and the screaming fans that finally snapped me out of my trance.
Yes: I may have a weakness for amazing, luscious curves paired with gyrating hips and incredibly explicit moves. Prior to the show, I had already made up my mind. I thought to myself, "I don't care how good she looks, Beyoncé is going to lip-sync her show and I am going to hate it."
I was already headed down that hater path from the moment I walked into the US Airways Center. 12 bucks for a premium draft? $40 for a tour tee? Typical of an overpriced, overproduced show.
Upset that I couldn't get loaded before the show, I rushed to my seat to avoid the melee in the halls. The moment I took my seat I noticed that the opening act, Luke James, already had his shirt off. At that point I realized I might have bit off more than I could chew. As James wrapped up his set with another cheesy R&B love song, the house lights lit up the whole venue. It was like the sexiest people in the city all decided to buy floor seats for the Mrs. Carter Tour.
I was sitting in the lower level--out of all the gorgeous, sexy women around me I caught eyes with a middle-aged white guy wearing the same outfit Queen B wore in the "Single Ladies" video. Luckily that terrible moment was interrupted by a video message from the star of the show herself. Little did I know I could text BEYONCE to donate $10 bucks to Goodwill. I could also spend a little more than I care to in order to smell like "Beyoncé Heat." That didn't sound appealing to me until I saw her perform.
After the 30-minute hiatus leading to the beginning of the show, the whole venue became pitch black,z and the huge screens showed an image of an elaborate, Romanesque cathedral. Dancers came from below the stage dressed in white lace; the build-up to see Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles Carter had everyone at the edge of their seat. Sparks and flames shot out in a dramatic display as she opened up with "Let Me Go." That was the moment I realized I was about to enjoy this show a lot more than I thought.
Throughout the show video transitions played as the dancers changed wardrobe. Most of the videos were eerie, drab, and influenced by high couture bullshit. The crowd was eating it up; every face was glued to the screen like they were watching a crisis unfold on
As the screens rose to the rafters, Beyoncé herself walked out to address the crowd. "Phoenix, welcome to the Mrs. Carter Show!"
Some badass hair was being tossed by the time the all-female band began to play the melody to "Get Me Bodied." The whole dance squad had North-Korean-militaristic-type-moves that became sexier by the song. During her song, "Diva," Mrs. Carter was merely tossing her hair, which was more than enough to put the crowd in awe.
During the transition, there was a center stage that lit up in a haunting display of rotating spotlights. As everyone was distracted by the center stage, a grand piano seemed to appear out of nowhere on the main stage. At that point I was able to get a real glimpse of what Beyoncé's voice sounded like a capella. Shortly after, she was strapped to a cable coming from the rafters and catapulted to center stage over her fans. I couldn't stop thinking of how great it would be if she fell into the crowd.
Once the beat dropped for "Irreplaceable" I had to tune out--nothing is worse than an artist passing the mic around to the crowd to perform a terrible rendition of their song. Despite sounding like an animal pound full of sickly, dying cats, in classic Beyoncé style she told the crowd, "You all sounded beautiful! I love you all!"
At the end of the show she kept promising me, "We're going to take it to the dirty south!" Whatever that meant, I never saw it happen. She followed up with, "Crazy In Love," which won the prize for most pyrotechnics of the evening. Before wrapping up and giving a shout-out to all her band members, she dimmed down the lights and sang "Happy Birthday" to a young girl in the crowd. The house cameras zoomed in on the girl as she began to cry in a hysterical, mucus-filled display. I thought it was a sweet gesture anyway.
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So hats off to you Mrs. Carter: Your over-the-top show was much more than hype and sexy moves, much as I thought otherwise. It was a brilliant display of stagework and pure talent.