Four years ago, Beyoncé and Jay Z announced their first On The Run tour and it felt like Beyoncé was the headliner and Jay was the opening act. Watching the two perform, you could tell the beach wasn’t a paradise. The elevator incident was a fresh wound and the infidelity rumors were getting louder. What From the pair’s pain came two extraordinary pieces of work: Lemonade and 4:44. The second round of On The Run tour was different, better. The pair complimented each other well, were more affectionate and Jay stood out on his own. This wasn’t just Beyoncé’s show; this was their show.
I, too, was on the run.
I attended two shows, one in Nashville on August 23rd at Vanderbilt Stadium and the encore performance in Atlanta on August 26th at Mercedes-Benz Stadium; two sold out shows. The same show but two different experiences fueled by two different energies. Don’t get me wrong, Nashville or the music city as Jay called it, gave all of what they had that Thursday evening but it wasn’t Atlanta. It felt good to be back at home in Atlanta with “my people” enjoying a Black show filled with Black excellence. I ain’t sorry. Beyoncé said that Atlanta was like a second home and she loved us. Love you too, sis.
Before the couple came on stage, a two-minute video played on gigantic screens and at the end reads “This is real life.” The screens open as “Holy Grail” begins playing. Bey and Jay look like wealthy hood angels dressed in all white and holding hands, they take in the sheer pandemonium of the audience. From the moment Beyoncé sings the chorus, you knew what type of night you were in for. Jay counts down to rap the first verse and its high energy the entire evening.
On Run II isn’t just another concert; it’s a full-on production. From the costume changes to the runway to the floating stage, the enormous screens opening throughout the show revealing the band and dancers, the light show and pyrotechnics and the mini-films and images…no detail was too small, and no creative stone was left unturned. My eyes kept coming back to the crosses that were displayed on the video screens. They were a permanent fixture and I wondered what they meant to the two. Death? Redemption?
This was a spiritual experience.
The band also played an intricate part of the show. The horn and guitar players demonstrated why the arts are important to have in schools. Live music adds extra flavor to any performance. And I can’t forget to mention the background dancers helped Beyoncé and Jay put the stank on it. What’s it? Whatever you want it to be.
The two married their songs together beautifully. “Diva” melded into “Clique” and “Naughty Girl” into “Big Pimpin.” Jay had to remind us that he’s been Jay Z and not the meme Jay Z, performing hits like “99 Problems,” “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” and “Public Service Announcement.” He slowed it down a bit with “Song Cry” and “The Story of O.J” and the visuals to match. There wasn’t a retirement ceremony for the n-word so if you’re offended, I’d suggest you stay home.
Beyoncé gave us “Baby Boy,” “Countdown,” “Flawless” and the show stopper, “Formation.” She also slowed down the tempo when she performed “Resentment.” I feel sorry for Becky with the good hair when Beyoncé performs this song…the pettiness always jumps out. Becky may have good hair, but according to Bey she isn’t attractive and we all know she isn’t even half of Beyoncé.
My favorite part of the show is when the two were on stage together vibing off each other, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. Bey mouthing rap lyrics while Jay looks adorningly at his wife. He still has the hottest chick in the game rocking his chain. This tour like the last, gave us a glimpse into the couple’s private life. Showing fans their home videos and pictures of their life. We even got to see Rumi and Sir during what looked to be the couple’s vow renewal. This is real love.
The highlight of both shows were the performances of “Family Feud,” “Nice” and “Ape****.” Bey and Jay perform these songs perfectly together. The performance of “Family Feud” felt like I was participating in praise and worship at a church service. It was spiritual. Beyoncé floats nicely over “Nice” and reminds us that she’s Beyoncé and if she wanted to put Lemonade on Spotify, she would’ve did just that so get off her d*ck. It wouldn’t be an On The Run tour without the Carter’s performing “Forever Young.”
This is real life filled with real love and the couple showed us through their art why everything is love.
The duo ends the show by performing giving the crowd the anthem of the summer. Both Vanderbilt Stadium and Mercedes Benz Stadium went ape****, me included. It was a site to see hundreds of thousands of fans and stans alike getting their entire lives. Bey and Jay started on a high note and ended on one.
What’s better than getting your wig snatched once, twice! Beyoncé is undoubtedly the greatest performer/entertainer in my lifetime and Jay isn’t too shabby himself. He, too, is a performer. When you put these two powerhouses together you get the best 2 ½ hour show anyone could ask for. While the first run of On The Run was a house divided, On The Run II was a united front. This is real life filled with real love and the couple showed us through their art why everything is love.