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Beyonce Week: Why I'm picking Alabama Shakes over Beyonce on Friday

Alabama Shakes

Brantley Gutierrez

Alabama Shakes



(Welcome to Beyonce Week, our countdown to Beyonce's concert on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For all our Beyonce Week coverage, click here.)

In life, you have to make a lot of hard decisions.

Picking a college major. Whether or not to get married. Pinto or black beans?

This week, I faced a tougher choice: Do I attend Beyonce or Alabama Shakes on Friday in Tampa?

I had to choose between two Queen Bs.

I like to pride myself on being a decisive person. I know what I want, and when I want it. But this conundrum included too many variables for a quick decision. At least that’s what I thought. Here’s how it all went down.

The Shakes announced their Tampa stop first, so I immediately purchased a ticket and made plans to go with a few other friends. Even though I saw them at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg a few years ago, I was looking forward to swaying to Brittany Howard’s husky vocals on Sound & Color, an album I can’t stop listening to.

Soon after the Shakes excitement wore off, Beyonce announced her own tour dates. And another group of friends collectively lost their minds. Bey was on her way to RayJay. And the plotting began. Who wanted to go? What was our price cap? What are we going to wear?

Our group was frantically trying to figure out how to buy tickets. We made three price groups so not all of us had to spend a bajillion dollars. There was the $50-$100 group, the $100-$150 group. And the RIDE OR DIES. We were in it to … lose all our money.

At that moment, I was all in on Bey. But then I realized what day this concert was: Friday, April 29. The same day as Brittany and co. would be gracing a Cuban Club stage.

We were deep into the longest email chain of my life when I realized something: I'm not that big a fan of Beyonce. The excitement I was feeling was my friends’ excitement, not my own.

Don’t get me wrong, I dance hard when we play Beyonce's music at parties. Her songs are fun, sexy, poignant and intuitive. Her celebrity privacy only builds her untouchable — and almost divine — persona. Her brand is strong, but it’s not really for me.

And I wasn’t about to spend hundreds of dollars seeing her with thousands of my closest friends.

I know my friends going will have an incredible time. Lemonade is a game-changer, and they will no doubt be Bey-witched.

Instead, I will be yards away from Brittany Howard at the Cuban Club, feeling her emotion behind that distinctive voice as she wails Gimme All Your Love. Her vocals, her band, her lyrics … that’s what moves me.

We know musical preferences are personal. So my decision came down to one thing: What did I want to do? My friends’ excitement was not enough to give up a night with Brittany. There was no way that dancing with my friends in a stadium far away from the Queen would be any different than dancing in our living rooms.

It turns out, my decision wasn’t that hard to make. I feel empowered. Because who run the world? Girls.

Oh man, wouldn’t it be awesome if Alabama Shakes covered a Beyonce song? Now that’d be a night.

-- Brittany Volk

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 11:56am]


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