Beyonce` in Wembley
This concert is the forgotten child of the Beyonce` DVDs; people don’t talk about it much with the exception of a few performances (ex. ‘Fever’ & ‘Summer-time’). While it didn’t suck, it was apparent that Beyonce` wasn’t used to touring solo just yet (it was filmed during the ‘”Dangerously in Love” era), seeming a little shy and hesitant. The shyness was adorable, however, and it’s a great testament to her growth as a performer looking back. Had she been a little more confident and made use of a live band more so than a DJ, the DVD would be perfect. Grade: D+
TBE is the clear favorite of bees on Twitter (just looking at the discussion some fans have had since Roseland), and I could see why. Eye-catching with a consistent theme, but not overly extravagant, everything from the vocals, creative direction and set design was just right. The creative direction was imaginative, entertaining and amplified the lyrical content of the B’Day album, using older theatrical references, like “Chicago” (Ring the Alarm), Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” (Dreamgirls) and a diverse blend of other notes (hip-hop, Latin & reggae). Also, Beyonce’s interpolation of out-of-genre music (i.e. Prince & Jill Scott) into her own songs was a great touch. Beyonce’s look was alluringly glamorous, yet natural. Her sassy, yet sweet energy was probably the most appealing part of the DVD; she appeared to be unwaveringly happy and comfortable, which made her very accessible. Perhaps she was so jovial because her best friends and future husband were in the house (Destiny’s Child & Jay-z both performed) and it just so happened to be her 26th birthday, but she was infectious. TBE was a big, inviting party for the BeyHive and was absolutely flawless.
I Am Yours…Las Vegas
What I LOVE about Vegas was that it showed a different side of Beyonce` as a performance artist. Deemed by some as just another gyrating pop-star only capable of big-arena shows with shallow music, pyrotechnics and over-the-top theatrics, Vegas proved that Beyonce` could give an intimate, scaled-back, sophisticated concert worthy of Barbara Streisand; jazz-interludes and all. Highlighting the poignant adult-contemporary content from “I Am…Sasha Fierce,” I feel this show was designed to be a stark contrast from the brassiness seen on the following “I Am…World Tour” and cater to the new audience brought in from hits like “Halo” & “If I Were a Boy.” The bonus features were fantastic, dispelling any questions as to whether Beyonce is actively involved in every aspect of her career and performance. The only downside to Vegas is that her energy was very contrived. Having to put the show together in a short time, she seemed to be stressed and heavily concentrating on perfection. Some moments came off as if she was “trying too hard.” She didn’t seem relaxed or comfortable. All in all, a very classy show that was an excellent appetizer for its successor.
After the healthy aforementioned appetizer that was Vegas, fans couldn’t wait to see the heavily-Youtubed tour that broke ticket-sale records in South America. As irony would have it, the DVD failed to match the excitement and hype. Designed to be both a concert and documentary, behind-the-scenes clips were in between music. The clips were interesting, but they were jaggedly edited in such a way that they seemed interruptive and kept the DVD from feeling like a concert. Numbers were shortened and song transitions were left out, preventing the audience from being able to connect with Beyonce’s or the boisterous crowd’s energy. Many fans, like myself, who saw the very dramatic and theatrical show firsthand felt that the DVD didn’t do the actual concert justice. The religious experience that is a Beyonce` show didn’t come across the screen well. The promotional ABC Thanksgiving special for this DVD was 20 times better. I personally have only watched this DVD 3 times since I purchased it. Seeing as how it was the 1st major tour film since The Beyonce` Experience, IAWT left fans disappointed and with hunger pains.
Live at Roseland: Elements of 4
Okay, I’ll likely have some bees in angry disagreement with me, but Roseland was only great because it had the new “4” material and some great personal footage included. The 1st hour was a wash for anyone who saw Vegas because Beyonce` used the EXACT same monologue and set-list. The 2nd hour (music from ‘4’) omitted the 3 additional songs from the deluxe edition and featured colorless and simplistic vocal/band arrangements (with the exception of a few songs). Beyonce’s energy was warm, the crowd was entertaining by themselves and the home video footage had an intimate feel, but Roseland isn’t a DVD I would want to watch repeatedly. Even the behind-the-scenes footage was a cheap tease, functioning like a trailer. The BTS for the music videos was more interesting. If I could match Bey’s Roseland energy with the Vegas performance quality, it would be ideal.
Glastonbury was the best concert NOT on DVD that Beyonce` has given. Aired on a BBC live internet stream, Glastonbury was everything you could want from Beyonce`. It was already exciting because Bey was the first female AND pop artist to headline the rock festival in over a decade, but her vivacious, high-octane performance coupled with fiery and enticing band arrangements sent the emotion through a memorable roof. Although the set-list included only 1 song from her sophomore album, “B’Day,” there wasn’t much left to be desired with songs previously not performed (ex. “Why Don’t You Love Me”) and AMAZING covers (ex. Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones”). Considering how AWESOME it was, it was part of the catalyst for this comparison. Fans seemed to love “A Night with Beyonce,” also shown in Europe, but in my opinion it was just a fan-involved, watered down version of Glastonbury and the BeyHive was only crazy about it because of it’s beautiful Elizabethan-themed aesthetic.
What do you think of my grades?