Beyoncé doesn’t just put on a show; she provides fans with an experience. During her 1 1/2 hour set at the Made In America festival in Philadelphia, she invited a capacity crowd into her world and made sure that every second was an emotional thrill ride. Even for the few who wouldn’t consider themselves diehard fans, it was a journey worth taking.
From the onset, it was obvious Beyonce´ would set herself apart from any other performer who would grace the festival stages during the weekend. While a DJ and live band served as the backdrop for most to the performers at Made In America, Beyoncé performed in front of a stage set that was as elaborate as you would find on a Broadway production. In a sense, she uses her songs to interweave a story about love, seduction, power, and vulnerability. Beyoncé-live is basically a musical disguised as a concert.
She opened her set with the passionate “Crazy in Love” 50 Shades of Grey remix before bringing up the crowd’s energy with “Bootylicious” and “I Care” before vanishing backstage for the first of many wardrobe changes.
A video montage appeared on the festival’s jumbo screens and displayed black and white images of Beyoncé on what appeared to be the streets of Houston, Texas. She reemerged from backstage wearing a shiny James Harden jersey and her dancers also wore jerseys. This appeared to be Beyoncé’s “tough-girl” set. While performing “Diva,” she danced to Future’s “F— Up Some Commas,” declared her place as the top chick on “Bow Down” and used Jay Z’s “Takeover” instrumental for “Ring the Alarm.”
Beyoncé also made a point to express herself sexually. While dressed in black lingerie and high heels, the stage set transformed into a makeshift gentleman’s club as Beyoncé performed seductive songs such as “Dunk in Love” and “Partition.”
After another change of clothes and a set shift, Beyoncé performed several of her ballads which detailed the vulnerable aspect of falling in love. She performed “Halo”, “XO,” and “1+1.”
Before the final set, Maya Angelou’s timeless poem “Phenomenal Woman” played as her powerful words resonated with the crowd.
Beyoncé closed her set with the catchy anthem for single women, “Single Ladies.”
It marked the second time in three years that Beyoncé served as the headlining act for the Made In America festival. Jay Z, who serves as the festival’s curator, will be hard-pressed to find another artist who could top his wife’s willingness to put on more than just a show.