Beyoncé and Jay-Z — The Carters, as they’re known collectively — present themselves onstage as mirror images. Not of each other, but of themselves.
“This is real life,” read the words sprawled across the giant screen inside NRG Stadium. “The gangster and the queen.”
They’re telling the crowd that they’re a normal couple who deal with everyday problems. But atop a massive stage Saturday night, in front of 70,000 fans, they’re also larger-than-life icons.
Saturday’s show was a homecoming, the first of two this weekend for The Carters. Queen B of course is Houston-born. Third Ward, baby. She and Jay-Z frequently shouted out “Htown” and threw up the Houston hand sign.
“Houston I’m home!” Beyoncé posted on Instagram Saturday night.
Like 2014’s On the Run Tour, the sequel is much more than a concert. It’s a celebration. A rumination. An examination of what it means to be black and famous and in love. It’s a conversation between husband and wife. Between idols and fans.
The setlist was an intricate web of duets and solo turns that fed into each other across two-and-a-half hours.
It included a trio of songs from joint album “Everything is Love,” released in June,. There was even a riff on her iconic “Crazy in Love” video outfit. (White tank, denim short-shorts, red heels.)
The massive stage had moveable parts and dozens of screens. It was occupied by a multitude of musicians and dancers, all working furiously to realize Bey and Jay’s vision. A pair of conveyor belts pushed out into the crowd.
She showcased an array of design sequins and has taught him warmth and humor onstage. He opted for a leaner production during solo moments.
They opened the show together, descending from the top of the stage, all in white, to “Holy Grail.” It was an electric exchange between husband and wife, performers and crowd.
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