The big news in TV last week, besides the announcement of Emmy nominations, came from singing diva Beyoncé and her rap star husband, Jay-Z. HBO will air a special featuring performances from the couple’s “On the Run” tour in September.
However thrilled HBO is to land such a coup, there’s nothing like the real thing. Sunday in New Orleans, months before HBO presents taped performances from Beyoncé’s and Jay-Z’s two-night stand at Stade de France in Paris, the “On the Run” tour comes to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Through their years together, Beyoncé and Jay-Z have collaborated in the studio and made guest appearances during each other’s concerts. “On the Run,” their first joint tour, is much more. The 19-date U.S. and Canadian trek began June 25 at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium. The couple’s Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 shows in Paris are the tour’s only international dates.
Beyoncé, no stranger to the Superdome, performed there in 2013 for the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show. She returned to a sold-out Dome five months later to be the Essence Festival’s closing night headliner.
Despite frequent costume changes during Beyoncé’s high-energy Essence Festival show, the performance never dragged. The star, however, sensing a lack of energy in her Essence audience, let her dissatisfaction be known, more than once.
“Y’all all right?” she asked. “I said, ‘Are y’all all right?!’ ... Y’all are on 3. I need y’all to bring me up to 10.”
The singer later expressed her appreciation for New Orleans, a sister city on the Gulf Coast to her hometown, Houston.
“This city has inspired my music so much,” she said.
Reviews of the Beyoncé-Jay-Z “On the Run” tour, no surprise, mention many costume changes. “What an impressive array of leotards and catsuits that woman has!” Billboard’s Leila Cobo gushed.
Following the tour’s opening night in Miami, MTV.com posted a massive set list containing 42 songs. Beyoncé’s numbers include “Run The World (Girls),” “If I Were a Boy,” “Love On Top,” “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and her version of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor.”
Jay-Z’s portion of the show features “Big Pimpin’,” “Dirt On My Shoulder,” “Public Service Announcement” and “Hard Knock Life.”
Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s joint performances include the early singles the couple recorded together, 2002’s “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and 2003’s “Crazy In Love.” And audiences are reacting enthusiastically to their recent duet, “Drunk In Love.”
Reviews also mention that video footage of the couple’s daughter, 2-year-old Blue Ivy, is shown during the show’s final song, “Halo.” Video of the couple’s wedding appears early in the show.
Despite rumors and online reports that ticket sales for “On the Run” have been slow, and that the tour is unraveling because its stars are having marital difficulties, financial magazine Forbes reported that “On the Run” is on track to be history’s second-most successful tour. Forbes projected sales of nearly 1 million tickets and a gross near $100 million.
The tour follows the shock Beyoncé gave the music business in December. She released her latest album, “Beyoncé,” with no advance publicity. The album features collaborations with Jay-Z, Drake and New Orleans native Frank Ocean and a guest appearance by Blue Ivy.
“There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans,” Beyoncé said in a statement. “I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”