Last year, at the inaugural Made in America festival, Jay Z, with a little help from G.O.O.D. Music and President Barack Obama, closed the first night of the event he helped established in epic fashion. That performance was so good it was easy to wonder if it could be topped.
Clearly the people with doubts have never seen Mrs. Carter.
Because Beyonce just flatlined the stage at the 2013 Made in America festival at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
And while Jay brought out special guest during his set last year, Bey only received help from Bey as she sang, danced and costumed changed her way through her greatest hits (you don’t hear album cuts at a Beyonce show.)
Seeing Beyonce is an experience for all the senses. There’s never any rest during one of her concerts, there’s always some dance or light show or movie scene to intake. At times, it felt like every single Beyonce song was its own concert, with epic beginnings, middles and ends.
This was usually a good thing. But, at times, it could be tedious.
If there is a weakness, is that there might be TOO MUCH things going on. Long movies about her being a queen or loving Blue Ivy appeared often and these scenes were minutes long. (To be fair she was often changing into different outfits.) Too many of these intermissions often halted the momentum the show had. Sometimes all you want is to here a gal sang.
With all the extra bells and whistles, it’s not shocking to find out that Bey was only able to do 15 songs in about an hour and half time. Stand out performances of the night included “Party,” “1+1,” “Single Ladies” and “irreplaceable,” which, in a touching manner, she had the crowd sing themselves.
Near the end, Beyonce transitioned from 4 standout “Countdown” to “Crazy in Love.” When those horns dropped there was a feeling that husband Jay Z would show up and knock out a couple of songs. He didn’t. And no one seemed to mind much.
Bey’s performance was a fine punctuation to a day that saw 60,000 people all come together for 10 hours of live music.
Like any festival, there were highs and lows throughout the day. Early highlights included mellower acts like Emile Sande and Haim, who played to small but passionate crowds.
While disappointments came from A$AP Rocky, who was nearly a half hour late and could only do five songs, and Public Enemy, who had bundles of energy, but no kind of connection with the crowd.
(SIdenote: shut out to Flavor Flav for taking the time out to talk about Trayvon Martin in the middle of the set, providing the festival’s only heavy moment.)
We can’t go any further without giving special mention has to go to 2 Chainz who did a very lively and exciting set. (Honestly, that guy just has too just has too many hits not to put on a bad show.)
If you wanted to feel constant energy and sprit, you looked no further than the EDM crowd. Throughout the day, the Freedom Stage — one of four stages — was designated the EDM section of the festival. That crowd was the youngest and the most energetic and they never stopped moving and sweating as acts like Mord Fustang and Wolfgang Gartner performed. There were kids who only left that section when Deadmu5, who performed at the larger Liberty Stage, did his thing.
Oh, and they also went to see Beyonce.