Tuesday, September 27, 2016

BEYONCE: THE FORMATION TOUR


The last time I went to a concert at Dodger Stadium was back in 2008 to see Madonna's Sticky and Sweet Tour. Due to the horrendous traffic to get in to the venue (which caused us to be late for the show), lousy sound system and the inability to see what was happening on stage, I swore I would never go back there to see a show.

Well, I have found myself returning to the scene of the crime to witness Beyoncé's Formation Tour on September 14th. Only the Queen Bey had the power to lure me back. Now I still think that a colossal baseball field makes it virtually impossible for a performer to connect with their audience but Beyoncé certainly tried to make it work. Using a towering, LED lighted vertical parallelogram that served as a stage prop as well as flashing images and projecting what was happening on stage upon it, this helped somewhat to draw us in to her glittering orbit.

After an army of female dancers strutted out on to the stage, Beyoncé ascended from below, kicking off the show with "Formation", the slinky first single off her critically acclaimed recent album, "Lemonade". The emphasis of the show was on those eclectic new songs and she covered most of them with highlights included the Jack Black penned, guitar-driven "Don't Hurt Yourself", the unrepentant electro-soul track, "Sorry" and the unexpected country-pop of "Daddy Issues".

But she certainly didn't forget her older material. While some of the songs were done in abbreviated forms, she performed full versions of her hits "Run The World (Girls)", "Me. Myself and I", "Drunk in Love" and  "Crazy in Love". Girl power was on full display as Beyoncé once again had an all-female band, background vocalists and dancers by her side on this tour.

During one interlude, which Bey changed from one revealing bodysuit in to another, the stage was awash in purple as Prince's version of "Purple Rain" played in honor of the late artist. 

Throughout the show, Beyoncé was determined to give you an incredible array of spellbinding effects that you couldn't believe was coming from her stage. That ranged from massive blasts of fire (which you could still feel the heat from as far away from the stage as I was) shooting in to the air, several firework displays shot in to the sky and on the actual stage and a powerful shower of colorful confetti that covered the entire arena.

Perhaps the most amazing moment in the show came near the end when the entire front of the stage was transformed in to a shallow pool of water with Beyoncé and her ladies splashing about during energetic performances of "Freedom", Destiny Child's, "Survivor" and "End of Time". I wonder if I was the only one concerned that if Bey dropped her mic during these numbers that we would be witnessing a high-profile electrocution.

By the time a drenched Beyoncé reached her final song of the night, "Halo" (and one of my favorites from the singer) alone on stage, she looked physically and emotionally drained yet quite content. She knew that she had given her all and left the audience, judging from their enthusiastic response, with a thrilling, magical and memorable evening.

TAKE TWO: TEDDY PENDERGRASS

Back in the '70's, if you wanted to create a sexy mood, all you had to do was turn down the lights, pop open a bottle of wine and...