Much like her legendary predecessors (including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, and the recently late Prince), Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter knows how to put on a show. And for the first Houston stop of her Formation World Tour, she did just that. Now usually, I’m a lot quicker in regards to turn around time when it comes to concert reviews, but in all honesty, I had to take a week to completely process what happened on May 7, 2016.
For over two hours, the Queen Bey captivated the sold out NRG Stadium, going through all of her hits from her days in Destiny’s Child to her solo albums, including the recently released multi-platform Lemonade. A show packed with super sharp dance moves, amazing vocals, and an unmatched number of outfit changes, Beyoncé proved that she in rare form and just hitting the peak of what is already a legendary career.
The concert itself was surrounded with controversy, with the Houston police force making the asinine decision to boycott the show, while the Nation of Islam, headed by the honorable Louis Farrakhan, watched over the stadium in their stead. Inside, Beyoncé kept the controversy going by opening up with the song “Formation,” donning a flesh-colored ensembled with a black panther emblazoned across her chest.
Becoming notorious for changing the setlist from show to show, Beyoncé kept even her most devoted fans on their toes, performing underperformed songs like “Kitty Kat” from her B’Day album, as well as doing her signature hits “Run The World” and “Drunk In Love.” The consummate performer, she showed off her wide range on songs like “1+1” and “Runnin’.” Queen Bey also showed out with some precise choreography, mixing in trap anthems like “Cut It,” “Pop My Trunk,” and “Still Tippin’.” As amazing as her singing is, Beyoncé has never been truly known as a dancer, but she let it be known that she could keep up with each and every one of her handpicked dancers.
A somber moment came in the middle of the show once Beyoncé left the stage after giving an emotional performance of “1+1.” The lights dimmed and the enormous rotating screen in the middle of the stage bathed the arena in a deep purple as Prince’s “Purple Rain” emanated through the speakers. NRG Stadium lit up as the audience (myself included) pulled out iPhones, lighters, and flashlights as a tribute to the Purple One.
Not only did Bey pay tribute to those artists that inspired her (she also sang D’Angelo’s “Untitled” and Vanity Six’s “Nasty Girl”), she also showed love to the city that raised her. Several times during the show, she expressed her love for family (both of her parents were in the audience) as well as her excitement at being at home. Not only did Beyoncé dance to Wine-O’s “Pop My Trunk” and “Still Tippin’” by Mike Jones, Paul Wall, & Slim Thug, but she also switched it up for the Houston crowd, debuting new costumes for the hometown crowd. Additionally, her performance of the country-leaning “Daddy Lessons,” complete with two-stepping dance moves went over great with the Houston crowd.
One of the most remarkable moments of the nights came when the adjacent Bey Stage filled with water as Beyoncé lead her dancers — all barefoot and dressed in glistening white bodysuits — down into the ankle deep pool. From there, she performed her anthemic “Freedom” as her dancers kicked and splashed in the water in synchronized fashion, drenching the audience around them. She proceeding to go into the equally inspirational “Survivor,” before turning it up one more time with a mash up of her songs “End of Time” and “Grown Woman.” As her dancers exited the stage, Beyoncé took the stage one final time to perform her mega hit “Halo,” once again vocalizing her love for her fans, her family, and her hometown.
The Houston native is obviously residing in the prime of her career, with seemingly no end on the horizon. Not only is she an amazing performer, but businesswoman and cultural influencer as well, as her Beygood initiative impacted the local Houston community with recognized by recently elected mayor Sylvester Turner. Also, her choice of musician-turned-Snapchat star DJ Khaled as on opening act, proves that she understands what is means to continue to be relevant and current.
Beyoncé is perfection, either you recognize it, or you’re wrong.
Kitty Kat (acapella)
Bow Down (with “Tom Ford”)
Run the World (Girls)
Baby Boy (with “Standing on the Sun,” “Freaks,” “Bam Bam”)
Countdown (with “Pop My Trunk”)
Me, Myself & I
Runnin’ (Lose It All)
Don’t Hurt Yourself
Ring the Alarm (with “Lost Yo Mind,” “I Been On,” “Naughty Girl”)
Diva (with “U Mad,” “Cut It,” “Still Tippin”)
Drunk in Love (with “Swimming Pools [Drank]”)
Rocket (with “Untitled [How Does It Feel]”)
Purple Rain (Prince tribute) (Original recording)
Crazy In Love (2014 Remix)
Crazy in Love
Blow (with “Nasty Girl”)
End of Time