Wednesday night Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour steamrolled through Toronto, setting up shop inside the mammoth Rogers Centre which boasted over 50,000 fans. The tour which bypassed Montreal for Canadian-only dates in Edmonton and Toronto was in support of her latest visual album Lemonade.
Image: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup for Parkwood Entertainment
The electrifying musical journey began with Beyoncé and her dancers dressed in black bodices, bedazzled lace tights and imposing wide brimmed hats courtesy of Canadian designers Dsquared2 marching militantly onto the stage.
Beginning with a spoken word call to arms directed toward the audience; “If you came here tonight to slay, say I slay…” and then segueing into “Ok ladies let’s get into formation…”
While there were fans of all ages, backgrounds and gender—this was a thematic show that saw Beyoncé at her absolute peak of unapologetic brazen female empowerment. From her all-female troupe of dancers and band members (her guitarist blew the audience away!) this was a show exploring everything it means to be female from a superstar who has truly come into her own as a business woman, a wife and a mother. Even fans seated in the far off distance were able to clearly see Beyoncé distilling each facet of her womanhood and proud African American culture through imagery displayed on a 60 foot tall rotating LED screen nicknamed The Monolith (seen ↓ below.)
Image: Daniela Vesco/Parkwood Entertainment
From recurring white orchid’s to a razor blade seen emerging from Beyoncé’s mouth, grazing her tongue—plus many a raw Lemonade visual—The Monolith narrated Beyoncé’s inner chiaroscuro of both light and dark throughout the 2 and half hour show.
The fashion was undeniably a highlight with performance segments designed by several fashion heavy weights like Balmain’s white lace frilly bodice + light blue boots and Japanese designer Atsuko Kudo’s off-the-charts-sexy red latex body suit.
Vocally Beyoncé sounded incredible and her energy never wavered with choreography that knocked my inner-dancers socks off! From Afro Caribbean styles to pure show girl physicality in what was a sultry porno-version performance of Crazy in Love—Beyoncé dripped sex at every bump and grind. Also, I’ll be damned if I don’t learn and MASTER the Ring the Alarm choreo from start to finish!
Musical highlights were Baby Boy, the all-the-feels performance of 1+1 “make love to me...” the trippy Hendrix-Doors inspired Don’t Hurt Yourself which blended into the fog blow horn blasting choreo of Ring The Alarm, a heartfelt dedication to Prince by playing the original version of Purple Rain, the water splashing inspired Freedom was like witnessing a baptism towards forgiveness, and lastly a heavenly rendition of Halo.
I clocked in on many cleverly mixed in musical samples interweaved throughout the night like the classic reggae ditty “Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy, “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson, “Give it to me Baby” by Rick James and “Nasty Girl” by Vanity 6.
Beyond the ‘Lemonade’ emotional scars Beyoncé endured within her marriage, this tour served as an emblam of survival for all women, with echoes of her quote staying with me long after the concert danced in my head.
“Nobody is responsible for your happiness but you. And you always have yourself so you are never alone.”