It was Beyoncé like I'd never seen her. Sure, when Rolling Stone's artist of the decade kicked off the Brooklyn leg of her Pepsi-sponsored The Mrs. Carter Show world tour at Barclays Center on August 3, she was pitch-perfect, gorgeous and dancing for her life. But early on in the show, the usually emotionally-guarded diva teared up while singing "Flaws and All," which she dedicated to her "BeyHive." "I'm a host of imperfections/But you see past all that," she sang, while jiggling her arm fat. "I owe everything to you," she swore to her fans, dripping with Southern charm and sweet humility.  

Later in the show, she awkwardly broke out with the old-school sprinkler dance move before changing her mind, laughing and saying, "Let's go back to [dancing how we were before]." It was startling. It was real. It was perfect. And for a moment, any of us in the crowd could've been Beyoncé, flapping our arm fat and dancing awkwardly. Until she hit that Matrix backbend on us while her female guitarist riffed on a pink, electric guitar with sparklers shooting out of it. Then the delusion was over. 

And all the more satisfying. We came to see a show and that's just what Beyoncé gave us. From sparks, to lasers and entire walls of fire, the pyrotechnics were orchestrated to perfection. Flying from the stage to the middle of the laser-lit arena on a pulley, the superstar was clearly enjoying herself. "I hope you're having as much fun as I am tonight," she said to cheers. And we were. The fans screamed even louder for a chance to grab the white towels she used to dab at the well-earned sweat on her brow.  

The only disappointments were that her husband, Jay Z and his current tourmate Justin Timberlake were in the building on August 3 but didn't hit the stage as some anticipated. Fortunately for the August 5 Mrs. Carter viewers, Jay Z came out and performed his single, "Tom Ford," off of his latest album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail. But for Beyoncé's die-hard fans, she was all that was needed. She put in work, left everything out on the stage, and we were happy to take it. 

—Brooke Obie