Beyonce’s Formation World Tour kicked off in Miami, Florida, at Marlins Park just days after the release of her surprise album, ‘Lemonade.’ Find out what the critics have to say in their reviews and see photos and video highlights from social media.
From an HBO special to a new visual album to now, a full-fledged world tour, the marketing scheme of the game changer that is Beyonce never seems like a scheme, but rather an inevitability. If anyone was wondering, why is she touring without an album, well, such concerns and questions were not just allayed but in fact, have become part of the dialogue.
In fact that’s the pervasive theme. The Formation song that she performed at the Super Bowl sparked intense controversy and debate, and accusations that she was anti-police. There were threats of boycotts as a variety of individuals as well as groups representing the likes of law enforcement and parents. So what does Beyonce do? Well, of course sell T-shirts blazon with “Boycott Beyonce.”
Naturally photos of these T-shirts went viral on social media in the moments leading up to the concert which also played out on social media, much like the Lemonade album itself and all the crowd-sourced detective work over who the “Becky with the good hair” was, and, the now deleted and infamous Instagram pic from Rachel Roy seeming to claim credit for being such.
Yes, it’s been a long few days, in the shadow of the death of the music legend Prince. A long few days with likes of Wendy Williams, criticizing Beyonce for not delaying the release of the album given that we’re all collectively grieving the loss of a true musical giant.
But the show must go on, and that it did. It was a massive career-spanning show, 37 songs (set list below) encompassing the tremendous range of the 20-time Grammy winning superstar’s catalogue. She even dedicated a song to her husband, Jay Z, yes, in the midst of the rampant infidelity speculation that she confronted square-on in the Lemonade album. She concluded with a powerful tribute to Prince. Rather than covering ‘Purple Rain,’ she left the purple-lighted stage, literally, as a recording of the legend himself sang the iconic song.
Now that it’s come and gone, the critics have weighed in, even as social media did, in real time. Here’s a roundup of what’s being said.
“…..Tonight the stage is set with a colossal white prism upon which she’s frequently rendered 50ft high, thus making her real self look tiny. But whether watching her small self on stage, or as a screen giantess, it’s stupefying to see her snap from mane-tossing snarl to still, seraphic smile in a disarming instant……” — The Guardian
“….Beyoncé drew largely from her most recent albums for the two-hour set, mixing the hurt and anger of songs from “Lemonade” — “Sorry,” “Hold Up,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself” — with more euphoric numbers from her 2013 self-titled release. Deeper throwback numbers included “Baby Boy,” “Naughty“ Girl” and, from Destiny’s Child, bits of “Survivor” and “Bootylicious.”….” — The New York Times
“….Those expecting a heartbroken or angry Beyoncé to take the stage were very wrong. The Formation concert is celebratory and uplifting and its setlist is eclectic, with classics like Survivor and Bootylicious alongside surprises like a Eurythmics cover of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). It’s classic Beyoncé, choreography tight and stunning, a visual masterpiece. But like everything Mrs. Knowles-Carter does, the show’s main goal is to make you leave loving yourself just a little more than you did before you walked in the door.”…..” –Miami New Times
“…”Emotion definitely guided the evening’s mood – Bey was overcome when the audience knew all the lyrics to her new song, Hold Up (that of the yellow dress/car window smashing), and she often stopped to smile or nod at her exuberant BeyHive. Her feelings were abundantly clear when she called out her old band mate Michelle Williams (‘I love you!’), spoke of her daughter, and reminded the audience, ‘I started a long time ago,’ before saying, ‘When I was a little girl I dreamed, I dreamed of this day right here. I don’t know if you all realize – this is a stadium tour that is sold out. You are witnessing my dream right now.'”….” — Billboard
“…..Maybe only Beyoncé could make the most intense moment of a show as massive as her Wednesday night tour opener at Miami’s Marlins Park – sky-tipping video imagery, fireworks, shooting flames, phalanxes of stomping dancers – the one where she’s sitting alone in a pool of water singing to a vortex of 38,000 screaming fans. Beyoncé magnifies her emotions and her persona to perfectly staged, larger-than-life size – and people love it……” — Miami
“….For all the analysis, all the theorizing, all the guessing and all the gossip that erupted in the wake of Beyoncé’s surprise release this past weekend of “Lemonade,” her arresting new album and short film, which bravely and forcefully tackles the subject of infidelity, the singer wasted no time in giving the impression that she remains in control of her own conversation. And right now, as evidenced by last night’s show, Beyoncé most wants to talk about the things that make her happy. They are legion……” — South Florida
Here’s the set list
Bow Down / Tom Ford
Run the World (Girls)
Baby Boy / Standing on the Sun
Me, Myself and I
Don’t Hurt Yourself (with elements of “Freakum Dress”)
Ring the Alarm
Lost Yo Mind / I Been On / Independent Woman / Naughty Girl
Feeling Myself (Nicki Minaj cover)
Drunk in Love (with elements of “Swimming Pools”)
Hip Hop Star
Purple Rain (Prince cover)
Crazy in Love (2014 Remix) (with elements of “Bootylicious”)
Die With You
Survivor (Destiny’s Child song)
End of Time / Grown Woman (Mashup)
Yes, the critics have had plenty to say, and, as always with Beyonce, the dialogue has hardly begun. You can see photos and video highlights culled from social media of Beyonce’s Formation World Tour kickoff in Miami below.
— BEYONCÉ HARD (@BeyonceHard) April 28, 2016
— BEYONCÉ HARD (@BeyonceHard) April 28, 2016
— Beysus † Godga (@GagaLovesBey) April 28, 2016
Pictures: PR Photos