It’s jarring, occasionally, to be reminded how a) un-hip, and b) white, I am, but I welcome it as a dose of reality in my otherwise complacent world. I went to see the Beyonce: Formation World Tour’s stop at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena this past Saturday (May 14th, 2016) and among other things noted that, in the culturally diverse nexus of Southern California that spawned me, I’m about as white as Moby-Dick attacking the North Pole as Benedict Cumberbatch simultaneously ejaculates a blizzard of Hostess Snowballs at it.
What I mean to say is, I’m not really the target audience here; I don’t really know Beyonce’s work, I’m not even remotely qualified to comment on any kind of music, and I don’t think any of her black feminist anthems were written with me in mind. I know this article is listed under ‘reviews’ but I’m just not really qualified to write one. If you’re looking for actual insightful comments on the performance, please click the ‘back’ button and go somewhere else, you have reached this page in error.
I only wanted to put some thoughts down because I love going to concerts so much. I surprised my girlfriend way back in February with tickets to this show because she loves Beyonce, but I wanted to see it too because I just appreciate live music so much. We made our way quickly through the line, watching the thousands and thousands of people around us do the same and observing the geese fly overhead (they’re in ‘formation’ too as one fan pointed out).
Normally a metalhead like me would be at home watching Black Sabbath or Slayer, and those are the types of shows I attend – although not being 150 years old maybe I don’t have anything in common with the average fan there either – but I love the spectacle of any concert.
This one, for which I had acquired not-inexpensive floor tickets for, provided plenty of spectacle. After DJ Khaled’s all star opening act (which featured a bunch of people I don’t really know, but also Snoop Dogg) Beyonce arrived onstage at 8:45 and pulled out all the stops, utilizing a gigantic screen to project herself (and occasionally videos while she underwent one of her ridiculous number of costume changes) as well as fireworks, huge pyrotechnic displays, confetti and even a shallow pool of water that the performers danced in at the end.
The most impressive part of the show was Beyonce herself, who is a powerhouse performer. As I said, I’m not really a fan but she’s been a household name for about as long as I can remember (as she herself mentioned, she’s been doing this for almost 20 years. By the time I was in middle school, she was already a huge name in music) and she’s bigger than ever. Damn does she have the talent to back it up, though; throughout a two hour set of songs, some of which I heard in high school and many newer hits, she never seemed to run out of breath as her voice filled the Rose Bowl. Her backup dancers never missed a beat and her energy was infectious, and when she addressed the crowd she just came across as a nice and personable human being. There was even a moving tribute to Prince as she played “Purple Rain” and lit the stadium with purple light while the audience lit it up with their phone lights.
Since I’m unqualified to comment on music, dancing, R&B or any of the other aspects of this show, I’ll stop my “review” here but my final thought is this: I still just love the way music brings people together, even out-of-place nerds such as myself, and Beyonce is damn awesome.