Jay Z & Beyoncé Rogers Centre, Toronto ON, July 9
Published Jul 10, 2014Few performers carry themselves with the confidence of either Jay Z or Beyoncé. So with the power couple on stage together, it would have been easy to let bravado overshadow talent. Instead, the duo delivered an exhilarating live show that kept the massive Rogers Centre crowd totally rapt from start to end.
The spectacle began with projected scenes from Jay and Bey's previously released Run trailer, establishing the lovebirds as outlaws on the move, before fittingly breaking through the sea of audience screams with the couple's first collaboration, "'03 Bonnie & Clyde." It was the beginning to a theatrical evening, which saw songs loosely woven together into a story using segments from the aforementioned gangster flick.
Early highlight "Crazy in Love" was followed by a solo stint from Jay Z, including his verse from "Diamonds from Sierra Leone," "I Just Wanna Love You" and "Tom Ford." Mrs. Carter then got her time to bask in the spotlight and knocked out a couple of feminist anthems with "Run the World (Girls)" and "***Flawless." For most of the evening, the couple tagged each other in and out, with Jay running through oldies like "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," "U Don't Know" and "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," and more recent fare like "Beach Is Better," "No Church in the Wild" and "FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt." Beyoncé stole the stage with impeccably choreographed routines for "Haunted," "Partition" and, of course, "Single Ladies," but the best moments were the shared ones. "Drunk in Love" received one of the wildest responses of the night, with thousands of onlookers happy to help Bey out with a "surfbort," while "Holy Grail" took on a (much-needed) refreshing new life with Beyoncé singing the hook.
Despite the bombast of the show, there were surprisingly poignant moments like back-to-back performances of his "Song Cry" and her "Resentment" as the giant screens displayed a grisly, Kill Bill-esque wedding scene. It all turned out fine, though, because Bey stood up after the latter (still rocking a bridal pantsuit) and launched into an excellent Jackson 5-esque rendition of "Love on Top."
The closing sequence was a "Young Forever"/"Halo" mash-up, as the proud parents stood back watching actual wedding footage and home videos of Blue Ivy. And although we may never know what goes on behind closed doors at the Carter household (at least until Solange gives us a tell-all book about that post-Met Ball elevator incident), and although these are professional performers who put on the same awestruck faces night after night as they watch the same clips of their young daughter, for a few hours, everyone in that giant baseball stadium believed that Mr. and Mrs. Carter really are crazy in love. And it really was insanely fun to watch.