Just 4 months after giving birth to her first child, Blue Ivy, mama Beyoncé returned to the concert stage in Atlantic City, NJ last night to perform the first of 4 sold out concerts at the Revel Ovation Hall. By all accounts, Bey brought the heat last night and looked in fine form … as if the hadn’t taken off any time at all since the last time she performed on stage. Click below to see some photos from Beyoncé‘s concert performance last night and read some deets about the show.
Beyoncé gave birth to her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, on Jan. 7, and is now between albums and tours. From a distance, her four-night run of shows through Sunday at Revel, on the boardwalk here, seemed to be functioning as an advertisement for the grand opening of a $2.4 billion casino, hotel, and luxury-shopping cosmos. It was a little unclear what she was going to do for her first post-maternal gig. She didn’t hit the stage until 10 p.m. on Friday … The show lasted two hours and allowed a dip in the middle for ballads, but otherwise ran rampant, functioning as an almost continuous high point: “Freakum Dress”; “Run the World (Girls)”; “Resentment”; “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”; “Halo”; “Countdown”; and “1+1,” which she sang on top of a piano, sitting on her knees. She first appeared in a silhouette, focusing on her middle section, which is back in action. In fact, she changed costumes five times … There were maybe half a dozen interstitial parts involving Super 8-like, grainy-color videos, or dancers moving in various styles to an abstracted bit of melody, or modest light shows. With her all-female band and 10 dancers, she performed with serious stamina and rigor; all that made it different from her stadium shows were stunts, staging tricks that couldn’t be pulled off in a 5,500-seat theater, and perhaps a few less costumes. She had already written the script for this: in “Run the World,” from last year’s album “4,” she sang, “we’re smart enough to make these millions/strong enough to bear the children/then get back to business.” (Not surprisingly, these shows are titled “Back to Business.”) Beyoncé can seem transparent, open, impromptu. She has a fast-reacting face, and opens her eyes wide to look astonished, touched, or grateful. (She did this especially during “Flaws and All,” which she dedicated to her fans: “I don’t know why you love me/And that’s why I love you.”) Then she makes some of the most thorough and gold-plated declarations of self-worth ever rendered in pop. “There’s nothing not to love about me,” she sang (in “Why Don’t You Love Me”), without needing to make a joke out of it. In passing, she performs respect. “Harnessing the power of your body requires responsibility,” she philosophized in a voice-over for one of the in-between films, full of vague dominance-and-submission language and visuals; it was a lead-in to “Naughty Girl,” an older track that begins with a sample of Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby.” One tribute accomplished. Another came later, before “Halo,” with a bit of “I Will Always Love You,” evoking Whitney Houston. She really hasn’t been away from audiences long, but long enough that she has to catch up with business like this.
Yep, none of this surprises me in the least. Beyoncé is a consummate professional and she wouldn’t attempt a return to the concert stage if she wasn’t ready to absolutely KILL her performance. As I’ve mentioned before, Beyoncé put on one of the most impressive, most entertaining live concerts that I have ever seen in my life. I have no doubt that the audience in Atlantic City last night got more than they paid for. I’m glad to see that Bey is back and in fine form. I’m not holding my breath but I’m hoping that Beyoncé will bring her show to the West Coast so that we could have the chance to see her live again.