Posted by Newson 05/29/2012 at 2:46 PM
If your own Memorial Day revelry kept you offline or away from Southern New Jersey over the weekend, you might have missed word that Beyoncé is back. (With such a short-lived maternity leave, it’s debatable if she ever really left, but…) For her first post-pregnancy performance, The Queen stationed herself at Revel Resort in Atlantic City for four shows in celebration of the hotel’s opening weekend. We were there on Saturday, and can enthusiastically attest that she came, she saw, she conquered, delighting fans with a diverse set list and limitless range of motion only five months after giving birth. At nearly two hours, we were treated to tracks off all three of her solo albums, Destiny’s Child throwbacks, covers and a brief glimpse into what it’s like to be the child of Bey and Jay. While entertaining, the show was also educational—kind of a “Schoolin Life,” if you will. Read on for our biggest takeaways of the night.
HOT R&B DUDES WITH AWESOME FALSETTOS MAKE FOR GREAT BEYONCÉ CROWD-WARMERS
If you don’t know Luke James already, know this: the dude will absolutely slay your bachelorette party. Nothing gets a predominantly female, predominantly grown crowd going like a good-looking soul singer with range, moves, songs and swagger to spare—especially one who’s willing to cover Ready for the World’s “Love You Down” and octave-up for the final chorus. His 25-minute set was the perfect appetizer for Beyoncé, and we are officially on the lookout for this guy’s debut album (Made to Love), out later this year.
IF YOU WANT A SHOW TO START ON TIME, INVITE A FIRST LADY
After recovering from James’ steamy opening set, we toyed with the idea of a bathroom run. Of course, when a 5,000-seat theater starts rumbling with the sounds of “Michelle!” and “Obama!” you know its best to stay put. The First Lady and daughters Malia and Sasha entered Ovation Hall a little before 10 p.m., waving down to the crowd from their balcony seats. In turn they received a very warm standing ovation and unofficial recognition that yes, the show was about to be begin. Considering their history—Bey reworked “Get Me Bodied” for Michelle’s “Let’s Move” campaign last year—there’s no way she’d keep a superfan like that waiting. Also, what a great weekend for Malia!
NOTHING SAYS “PARTY” LIKE A BUNCH OF INFLATABLE BALLOON DICE
What better prop for an Atlantic City show, really? The candy-colored ornaments that popped out into the crowd during Bey’s performance of “Party” made us as giddy as we get imagining ourselves attending Beyoncé’s super-awesome pool party from the song’s video. We instantly grabbed one and stashed it underneath our seat for souvenir and good luck charm purposes. Alas, it didn’t help us come out on top at the slots.
EVERYONE LOVES THE GOO GOO DOLLS
Remember when “Iris” was everywhere in the late ’90s? It seems to be back—so those of you who haven’t changed your haircut or clothing since then can finally tell the haters to step off. Taylor Swift thinks it’s one of the greatest songs ever written, going so far as to bring out lead singer Johnny Rzeznik at Madison Square Garden for a duet in November, and on Saturday Beyoncé patched together the City of Angels theme with I Am…Sasha Fierce ballad, “If I Were a Boy. ” It was a short-lived cover but still a worthwhile surprise, as well as a departure from the “You Oughta Know” mashup she’s used in the past. Should we start the campaign for new Goo in 2013?
DON’T SLEEP ON DEEP CUTS
In between big singles “Get Me Bodied” and “Irreplaceable,” B went deep on 2006′s B’Day, responsible for the five songs on her set list, only to pull out “Resentment,” the revealing, once concerning infidelity ballad that fueled Jay-Z-Rihanna rumors back in the day. Now, in hindsight and the warm glow of Blue Ivy’s wonder, the song exists as a vocal stand-out for her live show, and received a rousing standing ovation and mid-song cheers for reaffirming statements like, “She ain’t even half of me.”
HAIR-WHIPPING IS A GREAT WAY TO KILL TIME DURING A LONG INSTRUMENTAL BREAK
Throughout the show, seemingly whenever Beyoncé had a spare minute during an instrumental section, she would helicopter her long, curly locks in every which direction, the Diva equivalent of a Pete Townshend guitar windmill or an Axl Rose microphone sashay. During one particularly long piano break during the ballad “1+1,” the whipping got to such a frenzy that the woman behind us wailed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING???” Whether it was out of sheer pop delirium or legitimate concern for the singer’s well-being was unclear (and probably unimportant).
IF YOU’RE GONNA TAKE A BREAK FROM SINGING TO DANCE FOR A SONG, JUST SAY SO
Beyoncé doesn’t want to insult her fans by lip syncing for them, and we appreciate that. So if she wants to take a song off to just dance for the audience—especially when the song is called “Dance For You“—we certainly won’t begrudge her, especially when she warns us about it ahead of time, as she did on Saturday. Sure, Bey—put down the mic, get on the chair, do your thing for a minute, and get right back. We’ll sing along until then anyway.
A SIMPLE GHOST-BELLY-RUB GESTURE SAYS IT ALL
It’s not Beyoncé’s style to be all “Did somebody say Blue Ivy???,” and indeed, she kept the references to her first-born during her Revel show to a scant two. One was a flash of Bey cradling a presumably-BIC-sized bundle during a Beyoncé Living a Fabulous Life photo montage at the end, and the other was a gesture she she made during her performance of “Diva,” where she briefly rubbed the area that used to be her pregnant belly during the line “I told you give me a minute and I’ll be right back,” sending the crowd into a frenzy. Simple, well-timed, not overly indulgent…exactly the class we’d come to expect from the Queen.
IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO JUMP THE GUN IN THE AUDIENCE SING-ALONGS
While instructing the audience in a directional sing-along of the first three words to “Irreplaceable,” Beyoncé could sense that the audience was about to prematurely launch into the “Everything you own, in a…” follow-up. “Just ‘To the left’ now,” she quickly but gently interrupted. “Don’t rush it.” Let that be a lesson to you, Beyoncé fans of Atlantic City and beyond: you are not to act under any circumstances until given specific instructions from your leader.
THE BEST WAY TO COMBAT BABY WEIGHT IS THE TREADMILL, LETTUCE…
And dancing. “That’s two hours of cardio,” explained one fan sitting in front of us, arguably in awe of her limitless range of abilities. After admitting to losing 60 pounds post-pregnancy, Bey revealed the less-than-thrilling regimen to get back into fighting form. We’re sure endless rehearsals and high-energy choreography didn’t hurt, either.
HUMILITY ISN’T ALWAYS THE WAY TO GO FOR CERTAIN POP STARS
During B-Day bonus track “Flaws and All,” Beyoncé declared herself to be a “host of imperfections,” while pointing out lines in her face, as if to say “can’t you guys see what a mess I am?” Uh-huh.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO SEPARATE THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF IN YOUR BACK CATALOG
Here are the eight songs that Beyoncé played off her 12-track 2011 album, 4: “End of Time,” “Love on Top,” “Party,” “I Care,” “1+1,” “I Miss You,” “Countdown,” and “Run the World (Girls).”
Here are our eight favorite songs off 4: “End of Time,” “Love on Top,” “Party,” “I Care,” “1+1,” “I Miss You,” “Countdown,” “Run the World (Girls).”
For those less detail-oriented readers out there: Yes, it’s the same exact list. Even when Bey threatened to break the streak by teasing the mawkish ballad “I Was Here,” she instead launched into a pitch-perfect rendition of the a capella first verse of Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You.” Beyoncé knows what’s up, people.
Future superstars take note. Life just feels different now, doesn’t it?
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