Beyoncé returned to the DMV for her Formation World Tour on June 10. The tour consists of nearly 50 stops, including one at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. Since DC is not a stop on the tour, DC residents had to take a trip north to Charm City to see Queen B, a hike that was well worth it.
Going into the concert, I was curious about which songs Beyoncé would perform. Would she promote her new album and sing mostly off of “Lemonade” or stick to her classics? “Lemonade,” her newest album, debuted in late April and does not sound anything like her previous works. The latest album includes collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, and several others. The blending of genres makes Beyoncé appeal to such a wide range of fans, which was evident at the concert. There were older women with “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag” written on their tote bags as well as young men in tank tops that say “slay.”
Producer and Snapchat icon DJ Khaled opened the show. His dance moves, especially his moonwalk attempt, were cringe worthy. However, his most famous song “All I Do is Win” did a good job of getting the crowd pumped up. DJ Khaled mentioned that he had some surprises brewing. The crowd was ecstatic to see Wale perform “Bad.” The next surprise was Shy Glizzy’s performance of “Awesome” which had the crowd singing and screaming along. Yo Gotti was next and his song “Down in the DM” was a crowd favorite. Trey Songz was the final surprise and he performed two of his most famous songs, “Say Ah” and “Bottoms Up.”
The combination of these four surprises and DJ Khaled’s energy left me, as well as the other 50,000 concert attendees, primed for Bee. After DJ Khaled left, there was a period of almost an hour with no one on stage, just a stadium full of people anxiously waiting for Beyoncé. The crowd started to get a little bit rowdy but few complained, since Beyoncé can do whatever she wants.
The giant box on the stage lit up and began to slowly turn. It was at least 9:30 p.m. at this point so everything was pitch black except the stage. The first two chords of “Formation” were played and were accompanied by 50,000 screams. The queen herself emerged. Beyoncé pleased everyone by singing at least one song off of each of her albums. She created creative mashups that mixed her old and new songs. My favorite was her mashup of “Grown Woman” and “End of Time.”
Beyoncé was joined onstage by over 20 dancers, a band, and her backup singers, “The Mammas.” The dancers performed on a conveyor belt, in a shallow pool, on silk ropes, and even danced in boxes. All of this took place in front of the screen cube that played snippets of the hourlong cinematic triumph of contiguous music videos that makes up the visual part of “Lemonade.”
A major aspect of the concert was Beyoncé’s costumes. She had over five costume changes and wore outfits only Beyoncé could get away with wearing. Dramatic entrances and fireworks are an expectation at a Beyoncé concert. Still, Beyoncé proved that she does not need dramatic visuals all the time. She can stand on her own as well, and that’s exactly what she did. Her acapella rendition of Love On Top left the entire football stadium speechless. Frequently during the concert, she held her microphone out to the crowd and smiled regardless of how bad the attendees singing sounded or how wrong the lyrics were. “Halo,” her final and possibly best known song was the perfect ending to an amazing concert. I can speak from personal experience when I say that everyone from the floor seats to the nosebleeds (where I was) sang and danced their heart out. •
PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS