Beyoncé Week: Miami reviews are in as Formation Tour kicks off in Florida (w/video)
Giving audiences only a few days to process the wonderment of music that is her new album Lemonade, Beyoncé kicked off her Formation World Tour in Miami on Wednesday with a gargantuan, career-spanning setlist that saw the live debuts of many of her new tracks.
Want spoilers for Friday's concert at Raymond James Stadium? Check out some reviews after the jump!
New York Times: "Beyoncé drew largely from her most recent albums for the two-hour set, mixing the hurt and anger of songs from Lemonade — Sorry, Hold Up, Don’t Hurt Yourself — with more euphoric numbers from her 2013 self-titled release. Deeper throwback numbers included Baby Boy, Naughty Girl and, from Destiny’s Child, bits of Survivor and Bootylicious.
"The show also featured a partial singalong to Purple Rain by Prince, who died last week at 57, and wove in musical cues from the catalog of Beyoncé’s husband, Jay Z, whose role in Lemonade has been a source of speculation and gossip since its release...
"'I want to dedicate this song to my beautiful husband,' Beyoncé said before closing the show with Halo, a ballad from 2008. 'I love you so much.' (Jay Z, while present at the show, did not appear onstage.) She added, 'Prince, thank you for your beautiful music.'"
Associated Press: "Her opening anthems were fueled by red lights and hot fireballs shooting into the night sky to punctuate her rage — and the angrier she got, the more excited the crowd grew. At one point, Beyoncé donned a sequined bodysuit studded with red flames as she sang about her plans to 'smack that trick' as a tempestuous lightning storm raged on a screen behind her and later a red, she-devil-esque number.
"Just when you thought she was in full-on fury, she switched to the overtly sexual Rocket and Drunk in Love, a song seemingly about her once hot and heavy marriage. She drew from an older song, Me, Myself and I, to remind the crowd 'I'm going to be my own best friend,' and brought two girls from the audience who had perfected the choreography to the much-mimicked Single Ladies.
"She moved so skillfully between vulnerable and in control, that it was impossible to tell what was real and how much was artistic posturing."
Miami New Times: "Those expecting a heartbroken or angry Beyoncé to take the stage were very wrong. The Formation concert is celebratory and uplifting and its setlist is eclectic, with classics like Survivor and Bootylicious alongside surprises like a Eurythmics cover of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). It’s classic Beyoncé, choreography tight and stunning, a visual masterpiece. But like everything Mrs. Knowles-Carter does, the show’s main goal is to make you leave loving yourself just a little more than you did before you walked in the door."
Billboard: "Emotion definitely guided the evening's mood — Bey was overcome when the audience knew all the lyrics to her new song, Hold Up (that of the yellow dress/car window smashing), and she often stopped to smile or nod at her exuberant BeyHive. Her feelings were abundantly clear when she called out her old band mate Michelle Williams ('I love you!'), spoke of her daughter, and reminded the audience, 'I started a long time ago,' before saying, 'When I was a little girl I dreamed, I dreamed of this day right here. I don't know if you all realize — this is a stadium tour that is sold out. You are witnessing my dream right now.'"
Miami Herald: "She sang Drunk in Love out alone on the platform in the middle of the crowd, wailing with passion, the women in the audience singing hysterically along; as Beyoncé walked back to the stage, she squatted on her heels, sidling and twisting sideways, seducing her way down the ramp. (Later, during Party, she squatted again in the center of the stage with her dancers, flashing her knees wide open as the video behind her showed a spiraling tunnel.)
Finally, as Pitchfork and others noted, opening act DJ Khaled brought out quite the squad for his opening act: Lil Wayne, Future, Rick Ross and 2 Chainz. Here's hoping some of them come with him to Tampa.