It’s been one week since Beyoncé strutted out on stage in Philadelphia in that black “Formation” hat to snatch my life at The Formation World Tour, and I am still hungover.
I have been a Beyoncé fan since she was slinging her original, pre-Formation braids during 1999’s The Writing’s on the Wall era. Sure, I knew “No, No, No Part 2” when it dropped in the fall/winter of 1997, but I didn’t know who sang it. It came and went. I was seven years old; forgive me, DC, for not realizing your greatness then. A little over a year later, I came into the light with the release of “Bills, Bills, Bills” in the spring of 1999.
Fast-forward to 2001’s TRL Tour: my first time seeing Destiny’s Child live. Obviously, this was also my first time seeing Beyoncé live. I can’t even begin to explain what my 11 year old self was feeling on that night, but in short it was glorious. Since then, I have been to every tour Beyoncé brought to New York, solo or with Destiny’s Child…
Regrettably, the only (nearby) event I missed was her Revel mini-residency because, well, it was 2012, and when tickets went on sale I was a broke senior in college doing student-teaching by day, classes in the afternoons, and working part-time at night. My coins were not in formation… that, and, I hate Atlantic City. Oh, and 2013’s Made in America because I had to work ?. I regret both. I repent. Forgive me, Bey.
Anyway, for the Formation Tour I decided to go all out (well, within reason) for several reasons. First, because for once my coins were in Formation, it wasn’t that difficult to get tickets (Mrs. Carter was hell on earth) and I had a bunch of friends who wanted to go as well. Second, because she decided to add two extra shows in New York and I have no self-control. Third, and most importantly, because with “Formation” she made one of her most important statements to date and the fact that she was capping it off by being a fierce, independent, Black woman headlining her own stadium tour ALONE deserved to be seen multiple times. So, I bought tickets for Philly, both Queens shows, and the newly added New Jersey show in September. I was judged, but ask me if I give a fuck? Don’t hurt yourself…
Let me explain why: money can’t buy happiness, but Beyoncé concerts sure do provide it. Now, I am not about to give her all of my coins to stand in the Beyhive Pit. More power to those of you who can and have, but quite frankly, as much as I love her, that price downright offends me because it’s utterly unnecessary. I paid $383 in 2005 to meet Destiny’s Child, sit front row, and I got a t-shirt, lanyard, and signed photograph. I spent under $300 to stand in the front rows of the Roseland shows on two different nights. I’d have to spend probably $2000 to get all of that at this tour. Sorry, Beyoncé, but no. I hope in the future she just makes a regular GA pit at her shows, like at Roseland. I am happy to sit and wait 12 hours to get my desired place in the crowd, but I will not give you $2000 of my hard earned money. I could, if I wanted to, but it’s about principle. I want to be successful too, Beyoncé, and I know you didn’t drop $2000 to see Janet, Prince or MJ live when you were a common folk, sis. Please reconsider them prices. In the meantime, I’ll stick with going to 4 shows for less than the price of one Beyhive ticket and get my life four times over…
A point which brings me to The Formation Hangover. It. Is. Real. You might have read my girl Jordan’s post about her experience at the Chicago show, and all of the feels it sent her through after. Well, multiply that by three and then cube it for good measure and you’ll arrive at my current state of being.
I’m not going to walk y’all through the show, because, again, Jordan already did that and you should really go experience it for yourself if you haven’t already. If she already came and went from your city, girl, now would be the time to take a road trip or hop on the next plane. JetBlue is probably having a sale. Hell, perch on Spirit Airlines. It might be basic but once you are in Bey’s presence you’ll feel glorious. Go. Just go. I swear to you, you will not regret it – but you might regret missing it once you watch the inevitable DVD.
Though, I don’t think any recording of it will give justice to the wonders of The Formation World Tour. It was truly the best production Beyoncé has ever put on for one of her solo tours (DF&LI still is my favorite, if we include DC tours). Stadium shows are a challenge, and while the On The Run tour handled the challenge well enough, The Formation World Tour and its giant box was on a whole other level. That box might look basic but it’s like a giant box of tricks. You never know what’s going to pop out of that thing. It was such a genius way to handle the immensity that is a stadium concert. It made the show accessible to the entire audience, no matter your seat. Quite frankly, if you weren’t on the floor, she was too far to really gaze upon her with your own eyes anyway. I might as well have been up in the sky for $60, in hindsight.
Not only was the production flawless, but the setlist was pure perfection. The way she weaved the songs together flowed seamlessly both musically and thematically. It was one showstopper after the other. Each song was a downright slay and they just kept on coming. Through each Act of the show, she took us through the ups and downs of her catalogue, but it always ended on a positive note; with love. The vocals were powerful, the choreography was electrifying and the costumes were fierce. However, for sure, the highlight of the night, and rightfully so, was the conclusion with “Freedom,” “End of Time (Grown Woman Remix)” and “Survivor” being performed in a pool of water before she brought the house down with “Halo.” It was purely mesmerizing to watch Beyoncé and her fleet of female dancers perform in the water while she belted out “Freedom.” Then, when she flipped into “End of Time,” it went from being emotionally moving to a commanding slayage. King B stomped her feet and the music rose out of the speakers like some sort of Creole voodoo. Praise her.
The Formation World Tour is like an outer body-experience that fucks up your entire physical and mental being. I went to three shows over the span of four days, and spent about 12 hours in the car to achieve all of it. That, combined with the amount of dancing, “singing” and stanning I did… exhausted my mind and body …and left me perpetually starving. Beyoncé took all my energy and recovery has been a challenge. I still haven’t been able to have a proper rest. Hopefully, I can get some much needed sleep and go back to normal… until September 7th, when I go through it all over again at MetLife Stadium.
As a long time fan, I am so proud of Beyoncé. She went from singing at her mom’s hair salon, to selling out multiple dates in stadiums. She is on her way to having one of the most successful tours in music history, and, if she wanted to, could sell out even more dates. The show she created is perhaps the most intricate spectacle I have ever witnessed. I was telling everyone that they must see this show – even my friends who only casually like her. It proves that she is unparalleled and deserves all of the praise she receives as the best entertainer of our generation. Without question, none of her peers come close. The Formation World Tour cements that fact. I applaud Beyoncé for her growth and success. I never knew 17 years ago, that the 18 year old girl who was the lead singer of my favorite group would become the powerhouse that she is today, but I am so glad to have witnessed her stratospheric rise to the top. So, yes, if I could, I would do it all over again. The hangover is well worth it.