Beyoncé & JayZ”On The Run Tour”-Wed., July 9th, 2014 @ the Rogers Centre

by Bill Kwan

Toronto was a hot bed of superstar acts on the same day. Would you choose Lady GaGa at the Air Canada Centre or the Beyonce/JayZ show at the Rogers Centre. It was quite the eventful Wednesday night for JayZ and Beyonce as this writer chose to attend that show instead of the Lady GaGa show. The pair emerged on stage about half an hour late with matching gold microphones to the opening song “03 Bonnie & Clyde”

If you weren’t at the Rogers Centre Wednesday for Beyoncé and Jay Z’s concert, you may have missed out on a great performance from this power duo. The powerhouse urban hip-hop couple was in Toronto with their two-and-a-half-hour On The Run Tour show, which was their love story chronicled through a 45-song set list, with iconic dancers who danced through songs such as “Baby Boy!” and “Crazy in Love”, as well as backdrop videos galore. It’s the first time the couple has officially toured together as co headliners.

A criminal mob undertone was played between acts on the jumbo screens, showing them in the desert in a Cadillac, in seedy diners, showcasing money, cigars and cheap motel rooms. Just another felon cliché such as “Bonnie and Clyde”.

The couple would perform one of their shared hits such as “Partition,” “Drunk in Love,” or “Crazy in Love,” before splitting off to let the other one do a solo. Beyoncé’s “Countdown” counted up as a great segue to the mega hit “99 Problems.”

Realistic and up to date with their personal life and relationship problems, Beyoncé sang through “Ghost,” a song that could either be interpreted in two ways; infidelity or the paranormal. She wore black lace as spectral white dancers performed in dense fog behind her.

Near the end of the concert came somewhat of a resolution when the words “Forgiveness is the final act of love”,  appeared on screen. A beaming Beyoncé then took centre stage for “Love on Top,” with her superstar husband clutching her hand. All-in-all, it shed new light on their far-from-perfect romance. It was another step toward embracing imperfection. Beyoncé’s newest album describes some of the emotions such as; “Jealous,” “Pretty Hurts,” and “Mine”.

The show was far from perfect as Beyoncé fumbled over timing in “Crazy in Love,” but the mistake was no big deal for the fans. She was later drowned out in “If I Were A Boy” by a heavy rock bass. It would have done wonders if they stuck to the original concept of “If I Were A Boy”. Her vocal range in this song is amazing and sometimes change isn’t good. In one video, Beyoncé rides a black stallion while dressed in a wedding gown and gets shot twice on a church altar after a machine gun duel. A somewhat over dramatic scene watching Beyoncé die seemed absurd, if not a little Lady Gaga as we refer to GaGa again and we will again for Sunday’s show with Adam Lambert and Queen.

“Why Don’t You Love Me,” a super strong song showcasing Beyoncé’s vocal range which brought out a lot of energy in a song. Another great was “Partition,” which smartly divided the performer on two stages separating into two Beyoncé’s, where we see her singing to her mirror image on the set. Well actually Beyoncé singing and JayZ rapping to her. In “Drunk in Love” JayZ nuzzled her neck as she sang about “surfing on all of this good-good.”

Beyoncé’s quite the actress also as we see her perform with a machine gun mounted on a black stallion, in a wedding gown. The outfits consisted of a black mesh ninja mask, glittery red fringed bodysuit and ivory pantsuit.

JayZ starts taking the spotlight for his showstopping set such as “Dirt off Your Shoulder.” His best outfit was a basketball jersey with the word “Problems” with the number 99 on it, It would be great to have him do that with Linkin Park as a mash up song on tour in the future.

Beyoncé looked like she was having a blast, feeling uninhibited with no worries to be fun and goofy, something she doesn’t usually do, as she is a perfectionist. Yet with goofy weird out faces she fearlessly sang “I woke up like this,” and “Flawless”. She seemed to genuinely be having fun and interacted with the audience multiple times during the night.

Family videos of Blue Ivy played across the screen, reminding us of our own “family/home movies” and they must be “Crazy In Love” to show their child on the big screen. I understand they try to keep their private lives out of the media but on this tour they let the “Home Video” be shown. I think this writer made the right choice on choosing this concert over the other superstar show. But let it be known that this show was a great collaboration of two power brokers! “Forever Young” or their version “Young Forever” ended the set and the crowd got their monies worth as the performers really put out for their adoring fans. It was great to see two artists really enjoy their time up on stage and know how to really work the crowd. Two thumbs up to the “Carters”! aka JayZ/Beyonce/Blue Ivy.