Beyoncé brought all the fierceness that is Sasha –- her alter-ego -– and much more to the first stop of her North America “I Am…” tour at New York’s Madison Square Garden Sunday night (June 21).
Kicking things off right into high gear, the first thing B, clad in a sparkly-gold leotard number with an oversize bow on her rear, did was bring out her hubby, Jay-Z. Decked out in dark jeans and shades, a black hat and a pair of Nike Air Yeezy’s, Jay-Z and his wife performed a medley of the power couple’s collaborations: “Crazy In Love” and “I Just Wanna Love You (Give It 2 Me).”
“I’m so happy to be here tonight,” Beyoncé said as Jay exited the stage and five dancers wearing cat suits joined her and her all-female band. The Houston native transitioned into “Naughty Girl” and “Freakum Dress.” “Are ya’ll ready to dance?” she asked right before jumping into the high-energy “Get Me Bodied,” which ended with her dancers patting their “weaves” and doing the “Naomi Campbell walk,” as Beyoncé went backstage for the first of six wardrobe changes.
Re-emerging in a white leotard -- this time with a sheer, hooded drape -- Beyoncé performed “Smash into You,” followed by “Ave Maria,” for which she attached a wedding dress and veil to her outfit, and “Broken-Hearted Girl.” While still in full wedding garb, Beyoncé oddly performed a rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of the Angel.”
She changed again for “If I Were a Boy” (which was remixed with Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know”), this time sporting an armor-type suit and aviator sunglasses. For “Diva,” she tapped into her wild side with a leopard print leotard that lit up in the chest and crotch areas.
During “Radio,” a video clip played of Beyoncé as a child performing in what looked like a family room -- her diva antics in full force even then. “Ladies, we need each other. We need to learn from each other, and we need to empower each other,” Beyoncé said to the roaring venue before breaking into “Me, Myself and I,” followed by “Ego” (sans Kanye West) and “You Had Me at Hello.”
Then B took it up a notch.
The house lights went off, and soon after, a spotlight shone over a makeshift stage in the middle of the arena. A Beyoncé look-a-like wearing a black mini-dress performed a short dance routine before the lights went off again. The same scenario occurred with another Beyoncé look-a-like on the left side of the main stage, then on the right side. The lights went off again, and when they flashed back on Beyoncé was at the head of the mainstage, with a harness pulling her up in the air. Wearing a gold one-piece, Beyoncé was transported to the center stage.
There, Beyoncé ran through “Baby Boy,” “Irreplaceable” and “Check Up on It” before taking it back to her Destiny’s Child days with a medley of “Bootylicious,” “Bug a Boo,” “No, No, No,” “Survivor” and “Bills, Bills, Bills,” among others.
For “Video Phone,” the singer was accompanied by two female dancers and three male dancers, one of whom recorded a live stream of Beyoncé with an actual camera throughout the routine. Back to the mainstage, Beyoncé performed a short version of Etta James’ “At Last,” for which she wore a long gold sparkly pageant-like gown. That number was followed by “Listen” and “Single Ladies,” during which a video montage of homemade “Single Ladies” knock-offs, including Justin Timberlake’s “SNL” version, displayed on the big screen.
Beyoncé wrapped up the hour and 45 minute long show with “Halo” and, accompanied with two security guards, walked through the audience as she greeted her fans. “I am yours,” Beyoncé said before putting a symbolic diamond up in the air one time.