I am not a member of the BeyHive—that rabid group of fans that feel deep down in their bones that Beyonce, the reigning Goddess of Slayage, can do no wrong. And I don’t make it a habit of yelling, Yaaaas Queen whenever she rocks a dope outfit, walks a red carpet, or shares cute pics on the ‘gram. While I’ve enjoyed her music and can sing along to a string of radio hits that date back to the Destiny’s Child days when both Bey and I were high-school-aged girls, I’ve only ever purchased one Beyoncé album—Dangerously in Love—and that was from a dude selling two-for-five bootlegs in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Still, when someone invites you to her show—BeyHive member or not—you get in formation as fast as you can.
Wednesday night I braved truly nightmarish L.A. traffic to reach Dodger Stadium just in time to watch Beyoncé hit the stage in front of tens of thousands of adoring fans. I’m not usually a fan of stadium shows—I hate their lack intimacy and their massive crowds—but I knew if her BET Awards and MTV Video Music Awards performances were any indication of what I was in for, I’d be all right. I could body roll when she sung the joints I knew, and rest my feet on the ones I didn’t. But as I soon learned, there’s no such thing as sitting at a Beyoncé concert.
From the moment it began, I felt moved. Rocking all black like the Omen, Bey took the stage and commanded the crowd to repeat after her. Soon, the entire stadium was filled with chants of, “I slay,” which to my ears, quickly transformed into “Ase,” a call to the ancestors.
For the next two hours Bey would take fans on a journey through her discography, serving up giant glasses of Lemonade, championing the power of women with “Who Run the World” and “Survivor,” and even taking it all the way back to my days in Brooklyn when Sean Paul ruled the radio and he was arguably the bigger name on “Baby Boy.”
A seasoned professional, Beyoncé danced her heart out in high-heeled, thigh-high boots, all the while singing live—as in not lip-syncing a thang, but rather belting out soulful notes and runs that sounded like they were straight out of a Pentecostal church.
I. WAS. AMAZED.
No matter how much I may side-eye folks who go gaga over every little thing Bey does, or worship her like she’s their lord and savior, it’s hard deny she’s one of the best entertainers to ever grace the stage. As Debbie Allen said back in the ‘80s, fame costs, and baby, Beyoncé pays every single night in sweat.
I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. In some instances, ticket prices for the Formation World Tour costs as much as some folks’ rent. So some will never get swept up in the euphoria of the hive. Thankfully, American Express is coming through for those who can’t make it to the show with AmexMusic.com and the Amex Music mobile app, which gives fans access to exclusive content. This week, AmexMusic rolled out behind-the-scenes video of what it’s really like to get in formation and perform before sold-out crowds around the world—and with Beyoncé, no less. It’s not quite the same as watching Yonce slay in person, but it’s damned close.
Britni Danielle is the Entertainment/Culture Director for EBONY. Follow her on Twitter @BritniDWrites.