Only Beyoncé could turn an intensely personal airing of marital woes into a stadium-worthy spectacle.
Despite the massive stage set up in centerfield, her show Tuesday night at Citi Field maintained the confessional feel of the HBO special that accompanied her surprise album “Lemonade” in April. (Beyoncé plays Citi Field again on Wednesday and returns to MetLife Stadium on Sept. 7.)
After opening with the elaborate choreography of “Formation” with her 14 female dancers, Beyoncé took the stage alone to begin “Sorry,” as if she had taken strength from the group but felt the need to do the confrontation herself.
“Do we have any queens in the house tonight?” she asked, knowing the answer. Beyoncé was looking to give her fans strength as well, telling them, “If you know exactly who you are, say, ‘I slay.’”
Regardless of whether the grievances she raises in songs like “Sorry” and “Hold Up” reflect the realities of her marriage to Jay Z or not, Beyoncé has certainly touched a nerve with the emotional, yet still catchy songs. It’s a combination that not only brought her another No. 1 album and sold-out stadium tour, but it intensified the connection with her fans, many wearing homemade shirts inspired by the album to the show.
With such an engaging hook to her show, it’s easy to miss that she was in fine voice throughout the night, even when she was dancing at full speed. It was yet another way she showed exactly why she commands so much more attention than her contemporaries. And why it is so deserved.
The show was so big that DJ Khaled drew a who’s who of hip-hop for his opening set, featuring everyone from T.I., French Montana and Travis Scott to Fat Joe and Uniondale native Busta Rhymes, who did a mini-set that included “Pass the Courvoisier.”
Of course, all that star power paled to the sensory overload that Beyoncé provided.