J+B = Beyoncé Part III

ICYMI: Part I (J+B = Beyonce Part I) and Part II (J+B = Beyonce Part II)

Following the “Flawless” remix, Beyoncé performed “Yonce” before once again disappearing through the stage and being replaced by Jay-Z. The rest of the concert’s format was much the same with the couple alternating sets and sometimes appearing together on songs that feature one another. When the tour was first announced, there was a lot of speculation about who would open, how they would close, who would get more stage time and could it even work for their very different audiences? The couple, and their production team, managed to put together a show that was a perfect blend of the artists’ catalogues and hits.

The rest of the show featured pyrotechnics both on stage and in the audience. There were lots of movie clips and costume changes. I even noticed during “Ring the Alarm” that Beyoncé performed moves that seemed to be a tribute of sorts to Janet Jackson circa the “Rhythm Nation 1814” album era. Beyoncé later performed “Haunted,” which is not one of my favorites, and the crowd responded similarly. Despite the song not being the crowd’s favorite, it was undeniable how stunningly beautiful she looked performing it!

Other notes from the show: “Drunk in Love” was obviously a hit with the audience and we all sang off key the entire time. The movie interludes eventually began to lose their effect on the audience and, at times, caused the show to seem to drag a bit. I think its because the performances provoked such high energy reactions from the crowd that after 90 minutes or so even the youngest members of the crowd seemed to be losing a little steam. The longer the show went on, the more people started sitting during the short movie clips. The performance of “Holy Grail” featuring Beyoncé singing Justin Timberlake’s parts reignited the crowd. Jay kept us going by following it up with “FWMYKIGI” and “Beach if Better.”

Later in the show Beyoncé performed Lauryn Hill’s hit “Ex Factor.” I fully expected her to be joined onstage by Lauryn since she was in Paris to perform the following night at a different venue.

When Jay-Z returned to the stage to perform “Song Cry” many in the audience, took that as an opportunity to sit, Tweet and take selfies. Like I said in Part I, this was clearly Beyoncé’s audience. If you’re just a casual Jay-Z fan, you probably don’t even know this song. And the casual Jay-Z fan certainly didn’t understand how the lyrics connected to the remainder of this set. This was the beginning of the most personal part of the show for the couple. “Song Cry” was followed by Beyoncé’s return to the stage to perform “Resentment.” There has been lots of speculation about the state of the couple’s marriage. If you’re one to believe the rumors, then this part of the show was definitely for you. Beyoncé’s emotion during her performance of “Resentment” would certainly lead you to believe that she’s, recently, experienced the pain she sings about in the song. And her changing of the lyrics and improvisation during the song reinforced the belief that this pain is still fresh for her. But at the end, she recited the popular quotes:

“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.”

“Forgiveness is the final act of love.”

Then we’re back to happier times with the performance of “Love on Top.” The crowd is once again on its feet, singing at the top of our lungs and dancing!

A few songs later, Jay-Z sends the crowd into a frenzy once again with “N**gas in Paris.” We’re almost two hours into the show and the energy of the crowd feels like the show had just begun. Jay finishes his set followed by three more set changes. We’re now at 23:27, over two hours into the show. The crowd is exhausted but still ready to party. The stage goes dark and you hear Beyoncé singing the beginning of the couple’s song “Part II (On the Run).” When she appears on stage she’s wearing a dress with train that is a black and white replica of the American flag. Jay is in an all white suit. They look so in love as they walk hand-in-hand to the center stage in the audience and as he helps her down and then up the stairs again. Beyoncé begins to sing “Forever Young” from Jay-Z’s 2009 “The Blueprint: 3” album. While the couple performs the song we see their home videos playing on the screen behind them. She then performs part of “Halo” before they finish the concert with Beyoncé singing more of “Forever Young” as they return the main stage. They ended the concert by thanking the other performers and us, the audience.

The concert lasted almost exactly 2 ½ hours. And after all that time standing, screaming, singing and dancing, this old body was tired! But as I took the 15-minute walk back to the train station to catch the last train of the evening, I thought to myself “That was definitely worth every Euro spent and every ache I’ll feel tomorrow!”

La Fin