Beyonce & Jay Z’s On The Run at the Georgia Dome: Concert Review

Hip hop royalty at the Georgia Dome.

Beyonce has as weird hold over some of you ladies.

For example, when her On The Run tour with hubby Jay Z was announced, my wife (a hard core Beyhive dweller) made it her mission to be there.

That “mission” included pulling the okey-doke on your big homie.

The morning tickets went on sale for the show at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, she was up at the crack of dawn to cop good seats. Like most people with good sense, I was in still in the bed. Allegedly, that morning she crept by my bedside and asked if it was OK to spend the equivalent of the national debt on our tickets. My sleepy reply was something like “Mmmmhhhhuuurrrrggghhh,” which apparently is a hearty “YES” in Beyhive World.

So when I awoke for real that morning, I learned on Facebook of all places that the Bowsers were going to meet the Carters – and we had VIP seats.

We also will be eating old packs of Chick-fil A Polynesian Sauce for dinner for the next six months.

Although those two seats cost more than what Memphis Bleek recouped off his 534 album, I’ve gotta admit that the On The Run experience was worth every dime we spent.

…Except for this wack VIP T-shirt we received upon arrival at the show. It looks like Blue Ivy designed them with her Alpha Bits.

Playa please.

I’m a huge music fan, but most of my concert experiences are limited to ’90s artists singing their Clinton Administration hits in tiny venues.  The Dome was the very opposite of that, with more than 50,000 people crammed in the stadium. The wifey and I were on Row 11, and a few minutes before the show began, Xscape’s Kandi Burruss joined us on our very row. Of course I had no idea who she was until the ratchet reality show fans started cheering.

Playa, even Kandi couldn’t afford front row seats. I don’t even wanna KNOW how much those cost.

Once Jay and Bey hit the stage though, even I forgot about my empty wallet, the sea of bootleg “I Woke Up Like This” and “Serfboart” T-shirts and the woman next to me who kept whipping her weave in my face.

Bey-Z are masters of their craft.

My biggest fear was that the concert would essentially be “BEYONCE!!!!! … featuring her husband.” I expected Jay to mumble a few verses from “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and “Crazy In Love,” perform a couple of those awful Blueprint 3-era tracks, then sit back while Beyonce twerks. I was wrong – Jay more than held up his end of the bargain. Jay performed just as many of his solo hits as did his wife.

While most rappers stand on stage with their hands in their pockets, Jay brought an infectious energy. Tracks like “On To The Next One” and “F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” typically bore me, but Jay’s performances, complete with blinding light shows, were impossible to ignore. He even made sure to sprinkle in some gems for his hard core fans – I nearly elbowed the wifey in the face when the beat to “Jiggy My N*gga” dropped.

She woke up like dis.

Of course, no one is capable of upstaging Beyonce, who proved to me that she’s the best performer of our generation. Bey’s arena-rattling performance of feminist anthem “Flawless” nearly had the crowd in hysterics. Her ability to connect with fans up in the rafters is truly a sight to behold. Bey morphing from enigmatic specter on “Haunted” to acrobatic pin-up girl on “Partition” is one thing, but her true talent lies in her  immaculate vocals. She sounded studio perfect on every single song – never out of breath, never off key. It’s mind-blowing that a woman who spent nearly three hours stomping around a stage and swinging from chairs could pull of the simmering ballad “Resentment” without a flaw.

She’s not human.

The only shortcoming in her set was her performance of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor.” Again, every note was pitch-perfect but it lacked that soulful, guttural emotion of the original. It’s the one time Bey’s adherence to perfection betrayed her.

Jay and Bey also showed surprising chemistry. Bey incorporated a few of Jay’s hits into her own routines, remixing “Clique” and “Takeover” into “Diva” and “Ring the Alarm,” respectively. They looked like they were having the time of their lives bouncing on stage like teenagers during “Drunk In Love” while, later, coming off like the mature married couple on “Young Forever.” They didn’t sound like two artists sharing a concert billing, they sounded like two lovers sharing their experiences with the world.

On The Run is truly a spectacle – and not just one meant for Beyonce Stans. It’s easily the best-performed show I’ve ever attended. I can’t say it’s my favorite concert ever – I doubt anything will ever beat my experience in the spring of 2009 – but in terms of sheer spectacle, On The Run is in another lane.

It makes living in poverty for six months almost worth it.


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