We know Queen Bey for a lot of things within her rise to superstardom, as she became one of the greatest artists of our time. But one thing we may sometimes overlook is her power to hold it down on the stage. From her 2006 BET performance of the first single from her sophomore album as a solo artist, “Deja Vu,” to her “Lemonade” Medley at the 2016 VMAs, Beyoncé has proved throughout her career that you can do a full count of choreography, sing on your back while laying on a piano, vocally mimic instruments and hit a back bend while still hitting all the ranges. Here are ten times she’s done just that:
10. ‘Resentment’ LIVE: On the Run Tour (2014)
We’ll start off with a performance that didn’t require much from Beyoncé to be included as defining. Just the songstress in an all-white ensemble as she sits on a stoop performing in front of thousands. In 2014 Beyoncé and music mogul husband, Sean “Jay-Z” Carter, hit the road for their first joint “On The Run Tour,” grossing over 109 million dollars in ticket sales. The tour was a balancing mash-up of both artists greatest hits and collabs, their undeniable chemistry and gave us some of their greatest performances together and individually. But a highlight of the summer tour was Bey’s LIVE performance of “Resentment,” track 10 on her sophomore album, “B Day.” Her ability to lay all of her emotions right there on the stage for fans to feel as if they were in the eye of the lyrics, with the use of her head voice and altered lyrics to fit a situation she may have once visited, made the performance worthy to be one of the best. The singer’s vulnerability and power to make you feel everything she ever did, was what drew the crowd in and made this ballad, their favorite to see brought to live.
9. ‘Deja Vu’ BET Awards 2006
When I saw Beyoncé nonchalantly sing in-stance with her hand on her hip while the stage moved backward, it was a wrap. As the opener of the 2006 BET Awards, accompanied by Jay-Z for their smash-hit “Deja Vu,” with three years into her solo career, Beyoncé was no stranger to handling the stage on her own with so much willpower in just her early 20s. The choreography, Foxxy Cleopatra hair swaying back and forth to the funk vibe, silver spandex two-piece and a band of independently, talented woman made this performance one of the best of the night. Let’s not forget that Ms.Bey held the stage on her absolute own, no background dancers hitting those counts behind her, but just a 25-year-old entertainer, who was a force to be reckoned with.
8. ‘Love on Top’ MTV Video Music Awards (2011)
‘Love on Top,’ is Beyoncé’s song and I’m not saying this to state the obvious. It’s her song because she’s the only one who can sing it the way every note is supposed to be hit, while executing soul and real R&B through what singing about being in love really means. At the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé told the crowd to get on their feet and that she wanted them to “feel the love that’s growing inside me,” and even I didn’t catch the hit for what was about to happen. The New Edition “If This Isn’t Love,” inspired choreography with her signature background dancers and the iconic reveal of her pregnancy belly post-Blue made the performance one to remember.
7. ‘The Beautiful Ones’ and ‘Sex on Fire’ LIVE at Glastonbury (2011)
I don’t know what draws me to this performance more, the fact that both a Prince and Kings of Leon song were covered, how you could feel the mood of the performance through single spotlight accompanied by the two cool-colored stage lights, Beyoncé’s and her band’s ability to bring these songs to thousands of people in her own style or being three-months pregnant, and still coming with complete DELIVERY. The moment she sang out “Do you want HER—OR do you want ME—cuz I want YOU,” on her knees as the words poured from her soul, echoing throughout the entire festival, you felt that energy. This performance proved Beyoncé to be one of the few artists whose stamina and passion for what they do radiate through any song they sing. When you cover the greats, you’re expected to amount to that greatness and that’s one thing Beyoncé always takes advantage of.
6. ‘Ring the Alarm’ MTV Video Music Awards (2006)
First and foremost, what an anthem. ‘Ring the Alarm,’ was the rage of a wake-up call for every woman holding her own after the downfall of a relationship, but also not being afraid to voice their opinion about what they’re ex-lover would be missing due to their decisions and their replacement after what they couldn’t handle. Beyoncé made that statement clear in this fireball of a track, but her live performance of the record at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, presented the song in an even more dominant factor as Bey was hailed away by stage guards like in the official music video, before giving a military-esque, Janet Jackson inspired dance break. That dance break, oh that dance break was an entirely different performance on its own.
5. “Single Ladies” MTV VMA’S (2009)
The first 40 seconds of a few pop-locks and a short excerpt from “Sweet Dreams,” was the fish on the bait right there, which set the tone for the rest of the performance. We know Beyoncé does her thing with the leotards, whether they’re embroidered, iced-out, ruffles or just a bold color with no accents, this one for the exact performance with the Lorraine Schwartz robot-glove, was just a portion of what made the beginning of our top 5. Then again, the impact ‘Single Ladies,” has implemented into pop culture since its 2008 release, is enough alone to have a place on this list. Beyoncé’s delivery of the mega-hit, which birthed one of the most iconic choreographed music videos of all time, had viewers at home and inside the show on their feet and clapping their hands to the dance break and beginning of a legacy to a song that still slaps today.
4. BEYONCÉ Medley MTV VMAs (2014)
Changed the game when that digital dropped, you know where you was when that digital popped, I stopped the WORLD. And she did, literally.
16 years into her career and Beyoncè was able to drop a surprise visual album with no promotion or even a single to prepare us for the most memorable album release we had seen yet. At the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Beyoncé righteously received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, an award to recognize the accomplishments of some of our most notable artists in music. Before being presented the honor by husband Jay-Z and daughter Blue, Bey gave a full-forced sixteen minute medley of her self-titled album. This medley featured some of the hottest tracks on her highly anticipated fifth studio project, such as ‘Drunk in Love,’ ‘Yonce,’ ‘Flawless,’ Partition,’ ‘Rocket,’ and the rest of the 14-track masterpiece. In her multi-colored, crystal-like leotard that glistened with every count of choreography and her stage power of keeping everyone on their feet for an almost 20-minute performance, was the exact reason why this will go down as the best VMA Vanguard presentation we have seen thus far.
3. Super Bowl: Hits Medley (2013)
When I tell you the performance was so EMPOWERING it shut the stadium down, I mean that as a fact—like the power actually went out.
Who else better to ask to perform at one of the biggest days in American sports than one of America’s biggest stars, the one and only. To start, we got the signature stance, one hand placed on the hip, staring out into the crowd knowing for a fact, she’s about to kill it. The chorus of ‘Love on Top,’ comes in and soon transitions into the 1, 2, 3, 4 and we hear those vicious horns come in introducing, ‘Crazy in Love,’ as Queen Bey struts down center stage to perform her first solo hit. Then we head into the funk sounds of ‘4’ with ‘End of Time,’ which goes back to 03’ with reggae and dancehall mixed into R&B’s ‘Baby Boy,” moments before we were blessed with the opportunity to see DC3, Kelly and Michelle reunited on stage to perform ‘Bootylicious,’ ‘Independent Woman,’ and a new spin on ‘Single Ladies.’ And of course end with the signature ballad of all things love and light, ‘Halo.’ There’s not a specific moment of this performance that I can actually pinpoint and that’s why I had to break it down for yall as to where you could capture all the highlights. Just now, Mrs.Carter came and conquered the 2013 Super Bowl and who would’ve known, she would be doing the same exact thing three years later.
2. Grammy-sponsored Stevie Wonder Tribute: Songs in the Keys of Life- An All-Star Salute
Just a little bit of soul oooh oh oooh…was an understatement for this star-studded tribute performance to legendary soul icon, Stevie Wonder.
Beyoncé accompanied by the musical vocals and stylings of Ed Sheeran and Gary Clark Jr. gave their absolute all within this performance, that you felt the energy and feeling of the root of soul music wherever you were in that moment. The nine minutes of pure entertainment from these three very talented individuals started off with ‘Fingertips,’ from Stevie’s first live album, ‘Recording Live: The 12 Year Old Genius,’ which the single was the first non-studio recording to reach #1 on Billboard’s Pop Singles chart. Behind Bey, danced the real-life Men in Black, who moved just as swiftly and sweet to the music as she did, making the performance more joyful as we realized how talented our black people are. As Beyoncé introduced Ed Sheeran onto the stage to bring back the 80’s hit ‘Master Blaster,’ the acoustic sounds mixed with funk and soulful, rock n’ roll seeping through the chords of Ed’s electric guitar, was the ground for the magic happening on the stage. Texas-native, who carries the sounds of blues, rock and soul music, Gary Clark Jr. was the last line connecting the triangle of versatile musicians gracing the stage, as he joined Ed and Bey for your favorite empowering up-tempo, jam to stride down the soul train line to, ‘Higher Ground.’ The last five minutes were the epitome of giving it all you got, from Beyonce’s runs and Ed and Gary’s vocal instruments as their real ones. You could see the passion for music in their faces and through every word sung, the freestyle and strength in Beyoncé’s movement because she felt the music that black people make so well, just like we all did. Stevie was most definitely, proud.
1. ‘Lemonade’ Medley MTV VMAs (2016)
The ‘Lemonade’ era was Beyoncé’s most important and defining project yet of her 20-year run of a career. It took us on a journey of emotion, empowerment within self and finding our strength through heartache and hardships as black woman and people. Awarded over 100 times from different organizations and award shows, ‘Lemonade,’ was the drink we needed just to satisfy our thirst in areas in music and life where we felt alone, where no one could relate and we found a companion through a visually stunning album and tracklist that captured each barrier we could possibly carry. The 2016 VMAs was a highly anticipated performance fans awaited from Beyoncé, with the ‘Lemonade,’ era still being fresh in our minds four months after its release. Beyoncé’s red carpet appearance alone made a statement as she invited the mothers of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement and other remarkable castmates from her ‘Lemonade,’ film to walk the carpet with her. But it was the moment when tennis G.O.A.T. and one of Bey’s closest friends, Serena Williams introduced her to the stage and the crowd went nuts as we did at home. Moments later Beyoncé gracefully appeared on stage, draping an all-white cape, as her dancers dropped one-by-one to the melodic sounds and lyrics to ‘Pray You Catch Me.’ What was most significant about the following tracks was the story between each song as if we were watching the film again, just shorter but just as much power. From the ‘Countdown,’ dance break mixed into ‘Hold Up,’ transitioned into ‘Sorry’ and Bey smashing the camera during ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself,’ because well she’s Beyoncé, and she can do that, ended with us out of breath as if we just performed from the 110% effort she always puts in everything she does, closing the show with ‘Formation,’ (our real national anthem).
Beyoncé for president 2020.