Exactly one year to the day after Beyoncé released her Grammy-winning “Renaissance” album, the Queen B arrived in all her royal splendor for the first of two sold-out shows at MetLife Stadium.
It completed the New York takeover of Mr. and Mrs. Carter after Jay-Z’s “Book of HOV” exhibit opened at the Brooklyn Museum a couple of weeks ago
Twenty years after they had one of the all-time songs of summer with Bey’s first solo smash, “Crazy in Love,” Bonnie and Clyde are still running this town.
But unlike the last time Beyonce played MetLife — during their joint “On the Run II” tour in 2018 — this one is all about B.
Arriving in a cloud of smoke — regally resplendent in a black and white gown, white opera gloves and diamond chandelier earrings — she looked as if she was ready to perform at yet another presidential installation, not the “Renaissance” World Tour.
And opening with “Dangerously in Love”—the title track of her debut solo album released 20 years ago—she flexed some of the melismatic, Mariah-esque flourishes that were more prevalent in her early career while chants of “Beyoncé” would barely let her finish the song.
Then she went into “Flaws and All,” a fan-favorite deep cut from the deluxe version of her “B’Day” album.
And when she sang “I’m a peasant by some standards/But in your eyes I’m a queen,” she smiled as she acknowledged that she was now the kind of music royalty that is her generation’s answer to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
But in the first of six acts—featuring only ballads such as “1 + 1”, “I Care” and a surprising, gutsy cover of the Mary J. Blige classic “I’m Going Down—it was almost as if Beyoncé was opening for herself. Because, really, who else could do it?
And before all the dancing and razzle-dazzle, she reminded you that she was a singer first and foremost, despite “Renaissance” not always being the kind of traditional vocal showcase that previous projects have been.
But the concert really started with its second act, kicking off with “Renaissance” opener “I’m That Girl.”
Rocking a fuchsia fake fur over her silver sequined bodysuit, she managed to look cool even in the humidity of one of the hottest nights of the year.
It was a total vibe switch — and here “Renaissance” really came to life.
Because no videos were released for “Renaissance,” the anticipation—and mystery—was on high for what exactly the visual vibe would be. And it was something like “Barbarella” meets “Solid Gold”— a disco sci-fi fantasy.
And with an army of dancers in perfect formation with their boss chick, the party was on.
“Cozy” — one of the songs that best captures the gay underground club vibe that inspired “Renaissance”—deepened the groove with rumbling drums and voguing moves.
And when she sang that she was “one of one” on “Alien Superstar,” such a boast was hardly bragging when you can back it up as she can.
I mean, who else but Beyonce—looking like Diva Barbie in all sparkly pink—could have all of MetLife doing a line dance to “Cuff It”?
When she sang “We gon’ f—k up the night,” that mission had clearly been accomplished.
And it spoke to the power of Beyoncé that, while she did almost all of “Renaissance,” she skipped some of her biggest solo hits—including “Baby Boy,” “Irreplaceable” and, most surprisingly, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”—and you didn’t even miss them.