Beyonce performing live in Sydney. Photo: Courtesy of Live Nation
Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter World Tour
Allphones Arena, October 31
Beyonce Knowles knows her audience better (and dresses better and sings better and dances way better) than me so who am I to question?
And when she can kick off the night with two fierce bits of electro-Arabic-R&B that separate your hip bone from your thigh bone like Run The World and End Of Time, she begins on the good foot (in monstrously high heels).
But if I could I would humbly suggest to Queen B (her royalty confirmed during one of the video extras as a tiara was placed on her pompadour-bearing bonce) that regularly breaking up your show – and when I say regularly I mean on average every two songs – to change into a new outfit is one serious momentum killer.
Each time we got ourselves charged up we got sat down and while it didn’t take long to get us up again several minutes later, the disjointed flow meant we had all the rhythm of a boy’s school rhumba class.
Add to that the way some songs have been clipped or heavily pruned so it can feel like we’re getting medleys and you’ve got grounds for complaint.
Oddly enough however, those were more like annoyances than major downers as the show – less elaborate and flashy than four years ago but actually more spectacular – somehow rode over those objections with verve, vigour and some genuine va-va-voom.
It began with two now familiar customs: a welcome to country by Barnardo’s Uncle Bruce Shillingsworth Snr, with didgeridoo; and the traditional raising of the massed camera phones, with autofocus.
It kicked up a gear with Baby Boy, performed by Beyonce and dancers against lowered LED screens, and the sinuousness of Naughty Girl. It kicked higher still as she was flown over the audience to a satellite stage halfway down the room where we got a glimpse of a less perfectly controlled monarch during the only pure pop moments of the night, Irreplaceable and Love On Top (was that a hint of Patrice Rushent I heard there?).
And it kicked out the jams during the somewhat truncated but nonetheless impossible to resist double of Crazy In Love and Single Ladies.
(I know, I was asking the same thing, where was Deja Vu? Is it not pretty near the best thing she’s done?)
Sure, as with her last tour, there’s no sense that anyone involved here understands that light and shade can apply to sound as well as tempo (meaning ballads like Party just boomed when they could have soothed).
And I don’t believe anyone really needs to hear I Will Always Love You at all, let alone done as if it were a national anthem – all confected emotion and overblown delivery – when her own anthem, Halo, does the job perfectly well.
However, the woman can dance and sing, and sing while she’s dancing, in a way that looks easy but you know would be impressive in, well, a human being. Plus the dull bracket we got last time was ditched in favour of full on moments such as Freakum Dress. And did I mention Crazy In Love?
Beyonce plays at Allphones Arena on November 1-3