On Sunday night we saw the On The Run Tour in Winnipeg. If you want to read a less biased review including a comprehensive setlist, or look at professional media photos, check out this article from The Winnipeg Free Press. This is going to be about my experience and opinions of the concert, featuring amateur pics by me.
Our seats weren't great. We were way up in the nosebleed section to the side of the stage, so our view of the main screen was obscured, which really sucked because the show used videos for transitions while Bey and Jay were taking turns or changing. I wish they would have shown the videos on the side screens, or the big endzone screens (where the On The Run sign is at the top there^) but that was the only thing I felt we missed out on. The performers spent a lot of time at the front of the stage which we had a clear view of, or on the B stage in the middle of the stadium, and the side screens did a good job of capturing things.
Honestly, I kind of forgot about it once the show really got going. I was just so happy to be there, hearing the songs live, witnessing the spectacle and enjoying the excitement of the crowd.
They started off with "03 Bonnie & Clyde" and the rest of the show sort of followed that storyline of them being criminals "on the run" with the videos and the sequence of songs sort of corresponding to that idea. The pacing of the show was great, there was never a moment where nothing was happening. Jay-Z and Beyoncé took turns performing, or performed together, and when neither of them were on stage a video was playing or dancers were dancing.
The dancers were amazing. At one point the two male dancers took turns leaping out of the trap doors in the stage, it was crazy.
I was impressed with the energy Jay-Z brought to the stage. Bey had crazy costumes, backup dancers, choreographed routines, and flippable hair to entertain the crowd, plus all her songs are radio hits, but Jay-Z is 12 years older and it's just him and a microphone. He did have some pyrotechnics as well as lights and fog but it was mainly just him rapping and yet he still captured the attention of the crowd and got everybody pumped up. I liked "Tom Ford" way better live than I do on the album, and "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" was one of the highlights of the concert, it was so much fun!
Beyoncé had complete command of the crowd. At one point she just stood still for about 8 beats, then turned sharply and looked at the audience over her shoulder and everybody just went NUTS. She wasn't even singing! Everyone just loves her so much they just couldn't contain her excitement over her existence.
After Jay did "99 Problems" Beyoncé did "If I Were a Boy," just standing on stage singing. It was moments like this (and again during "Pretty Hurts") when she just stripped it down and sang that she really showed how talented she is.
A lot of people have been commenting on the performance of "Resentment" during the tour and speculating on certain lyrics changes etc. with regards to the couple's personal relationship and rumours that they will be divorcing once the tour is over. Beyoncé sang the song on the B-stage wearing a wedding veil and gown, but then immediately followed it by removing the veil and skirt to reveal a white pantsuit, and having her dancers join her on stage to sing "Love on Top." Going from "As much as I wanna trust you I know it ain't the same and it's all because you lied" to "finally you put my love on top" didn't seem like insight into their personal lives, it just felt like a well-planned show where they played character versions of themselves. They are Mr. and Mrs. Carter but they're also Beyoncé/Yoncé/Bey/Sasha Fierce/Bonnie and Jay-Z/Jigga/Hova/Jay/Clyde, and they are performing, not revealing.
Single Ladies finished with sparks raining down which was pretty sweet.
The coolest part of the concert for me was the finale. The Carters appeared together on stage to sing "Part II (On the Run)", wearing their final outfits of the night - a black and white American flag dress and a white suit. When Bey sang, Jay-Z looked at her adoringly and said, "you sound so beautiful, B." Then the two walked through the aisle in the crowd to the B-stage.
Jay-Z asked everybody to light up their phones and wave them in the air. It looked like twinkling stars filled the stadium. They did "Young Forever" with Beyoncé singing the hook, then "Halo," then back to "Young Forever" to finish off the night.
It felt so magical and special. The two embraced and just looked so happy (which you can see on the screen below.)
They returned to the main stage, thanked everybody involved in the show, thanked the audience, and left with arms around each other.
Overall, super great concert, tons of fun, I was so happy we were able to see it, especially since the tour only came to two cities in Canada, and neither of them is close to where we live. It was a great experience.