Sometime around 4th grade or so, I developed a keen interest in the Supremes, and especially Diana Ross. I think the glamour of girl groups drew me in, and Diana Ross was intriguing, especially with as how glitzy she was, with her long dresses, big hair, and close friendship with Michael Jackson. I started getting books on her (this was kind of before the internet), and was fascinated by a story about her performing in the rain in Central Park in 1983. I mentioned it to my dad, also a fan of anything Motown, when he mentioned that he’d been at the concert with one of his sisters, the night that Diana Ross performed in the rain until all of the instruments shorted out and she nearly fell off the stage. My dad witness something that I read about in a book, and I always found that so cool.
On Tuesday night, Austin and I headed to Carter-Finley to see the Queen, Beyonce, perform. I’ve seen her a few times, twice with Destiny’s Child, and a few more times on her own, but as she’s released her albums, and they’ve gotten progressively better, her show’s gotten better. The only solo tour I missed her on was the On the Run tour a few summers ago because the closest date, in Baltimore, fell right around when we were getting married, and right around the time that I started my job at the Y. This was Austin’s first show.
So, on Tuesday night, after class, we battled traffic (which was absolutely horrendous), we made our way into the stadium and down to our seats with plenty of time for the show to start. It was incredible to see 40,000 people filing into the show, and the weather, which was predicted to potentially be a little dicey, seemed to have passed pretty quickly. It was Bey time.
Immediately, as the show started (with an incredible rendition of Formation), the party started. Beyonce sang (like, really sang), danced (again, like, really danced), and killed every single one of the 26 numbers she began with. There was not a moment that I thought she faltered. And then the rain came. She continued, like the professional she was, as the rain fell a little harder, and even did the infamous chair flip without busting anything. But as that number wrapped up, and she ran offstage, and the jumbotron lit up with some footage, lightening struck….hard, and a man come out (to spirited boo-ing) to inform us that due to the dangerous conditions, we would need to evacuate, either to nearby practice fields, the PNC Arena, or our cars to wait out the storm. We filed out, sort of started toward the doors, but by the time we went to the restroom (I am still very pregnant), and stood around for a second, the police and stadium employees were letting us know that she’d be coming back on soon. We filed back in.
At 11:20, she began again with Daddy Lessons, and gave us music until nearly 12 am. She finished with a stunning performance of Freedom and Survivor, and then really finished with Halo, which she performed wet (at this point, it was raining again), and barefoot from her Freedom performance. It was incredible, and her obvious hard work and dedication was super inspiring. Like as dumb as it sounds, even getting up early to teach the 5:45 am Body Pump class felt a little less like a tall order, and more like something I felt honored to deliver to folks.
The performance, if you go back and look at the comments at our local news (just…don’t, take my word for it), was really shrouded in controversy. Some folks said she’s anti-police. Some folks said that she was lazy (impossible to believe, especially if you’ve ever seen a live show. Some folks said that she was greedy to continue with the show among our HB2 drama. Some said she was talentless.
Literally, she blew every single one of those arguments right out of the water. She was beautiful, talented, humble, and thanked the audience profusely once she began the show, for staying and sticking it out with her.
Now one last thing…
I repeatedly said to Austin that I would do just about anything, anything to dance with her. I don’t even have to be one of the front girls, even the back will be fine where no one would really be paying attention to me. Just to see what it might feel like to be a part of something that brings 40 thousand people so much joy.
Who’s your favorite person you’ve had a chance to see live?