Jay Z and Beyonce brought their On the Run tour to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium for the first of two evenings on Friday (July 11).
The Brooklyn rapper and Houston R&B queen came ready, with umpteen hit records both together as a couple and solo. B’ and Jay, a powerhouse duo, seamlessly weaved cuts like her “Ring the Alarm” with his “Takeover” or “Tom Ford” and “Run the World (Girls)” together. The grit and brashness of Jay’s street cuts (“Jigga My Ni**a”) were salt to Beyonce’s sugary ballads (“Halo”). It was a ghetto-chic concert boasting lighting and pyrotechnics fit for the Super Bowl’s halftime show with splashes of old Hollywood and Broadway.
There were a load of standout moments during the concert. The pair showed love to an internet sensation, revealed intimate footage and much more. Here are the five best things about Friday’s On the Run concert.
1. They Show Not Everything is Perfect in their Relationship
Anyone on social media that’s remotely interested knows that the idol worship for Jay and Bey’s romance is one that populates their feeds often. Whether it’s a woman Instagramming a 15-second video of Beyonce on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” years ago spilling her immense feelings for Jay on national TV or someone merely tweeting an image of the two sitting courtside at a Brooklyn Nets game — husband rubbing wife’s knee — and captioning it “I want this,” everyone admires the power couple.
With all the pressure to be the perfect pair image-wise, the On the Run tour could have featured them only performing gushy collabs like “Crazy in Love” or “'03 Bonnie & Clyde.” And though those classic cuts are played, they are honest enough to let us know that that not everything about them is honey sweet. B’ performs “Resentment,” a combative ballad about finding out a lover has cheated on her. She follows with a cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” transitioning from being angry at Jay to feeling just plain deserted and alone. In turn, Jay dusts off “Song Cry,” a song from 2001 album, “Blueprint,” about dealing with a good girl he’s turned bad because of his unfaithful ways. “I was just fuckin’ them girls/ I was gon’ get right back,” he raps.
The portion of the concert felt like they were rolling the windows down on the luxury car and allowing the audience to see that sometimes they may not be holding hands or doing that “Partition” stuff when they’re together. They might be talking wrongs out, or downright pissed at one another.
2. They Give the "Shmoney Dance" Shout Outs
Sure, Jay and Beyonce are busy making albums and closing major business deals. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t up on current events or even that they don’t have to time peep the latest Vine sensations. Over the last two weeks in hip-hop, nothing has brought more cheer than Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda’s “Shmoney Dance” and both singer and rapper referenced it. B’ bopped in Shmurda fashion (sans hat, though) during “Flawless,” while Jay coolly rapped “Come Shmoney Dance with the good fellas” during "FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt." Both moves were pretty subtle. But fans quickly noticed and took to social media to shout out the two for the breezy references.
3. Jay Motorboats Beyonce
This isn’t the first time Jay’s done a co-headlining tour. In the past there have been stints with R. Kelly and Mary J. Blige and buddy jaunts with Kanye West and, most recently, Justin Timberlake. He appeared to have much fun with those last two guys, but nothing competes with the evident joy on Jay’s mug when he’s on stage with wife Beyonce. For such a notoriously cool-mannered guy, it’s fun to see him goof and be silly in love with Bey’ up there. During his verse on “Drunk in Love,” he raps to her that her “breasteses” are breakfast. On stage, he somewhat acted it out, with Beyonce poking out her chest and Jay nearly planting his face in for a taste. Sure, it was a bit much. But it was fun to watch.
4. Wedding montage/Blue Ivy Clips
For the first time ever, Jay and Beyonce let fans have a glimpse of one of their most guarded moments together: their wedding. Images of their ceremony play as they perform towards the end of the show. In addition to that, clips of intimate times during Beyonce’s pregnancy with their first and only child, Blue Ivy, play as well. There’s a photo shoot where Jay wraps his arms around a full-bellied B’. There are also shots of Beyonce looking into Blue’s eyes for the first time after birth. It grounds the concert. This is an actual relationship, not just a man and woman on stage acting.
5. The Gangster Couple “On the Run” Plotline
Like the “On the Run” trailer they released months back suggests, their concert’s plotline revolves criminal couple Jay Z and Beyonce, who rob banks by day and make love at night. As Beyonce begins one robbery during a scene, she yells, “Get down, motherfucker!” In another, she teases Jay as a makes a dirt road payphone call while Kanye West’s naughty “Hell of a Life" beat plays. The dramatic clips, montages and scenes range from “Bonnie and Clyde”-like to “The Great Gatsby” cabaret-ish, with dance scenes that include flappers and old-timey grooving (superstar party guests like Diddy and Swizz Beatz included). They all add a fun cinematic touch to the concert.