On The Run: Standing ovations for Beyonce & Jay Z in Toronto [Review]
Toronto, ON – When you think of absolute perfect concerts, what comes to mind? Perhaps a Bad Boy reunion? Or maybe even another Up in Smoke Tour? Realistically, there are a million different combos you could imagine that would be a dream come true for any hip-hop head. Most people would naturally only dream of live shows of that magnitude, however, on Wednesday, July 9, one of those absolute perfect concerts rolled into Toronto.
It was none other than hip-hop’s current king and queen; Jay Z and Beyoncé. Talk about the perfect concert. Mr. and Mrs. Carter teamed up and hit the road this past month for what they call their On the Run Tour. Appropriately titled after the Beyoncé assisted track on Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, the tour covers North America and Europe with 21 stops across the board. Lucky for Canadian fans, the dynamic duo stopped into the Rogers Centre last Wednesday to showcase their plethora of hits and obvious chemistry.
The show started roughly about an hour and a quarter after the original ticket time which only built up the overwhelming anticipation even more. At around 9:15 p.m., the lights went low and the jumbotron hanging behind the massive stage displayed a feature film-esque clip that posed as the show’s intro. Scenes of the two racing through the desert in a Cadillac trying to out run the law while periodically gazing into each other’s eyes were projected to the 50,000+ fans in eagerness of their arrival on stage. After a few short minutes of footage, the film cut out, the stage lights came on and out walked the Carters.
Kicking things off with their collaborative 2002 smash hit, “’03 Bonnie and Clyde,” Jay Z and Beyoncé immediately threw the crowd into a frenzy. They then dove into a few more of their classic collabs such as “Upgrade U” and “Crazy in Love,” which were more than a little muffled by the onslaught of cheering and applause. As Jay ended his verse on “Crazy in Love,” Beyoncé slid off stage as her husband proceeded to roll through a few of his own hits.
As the performance rolled on, so did the story-line. The two would periodically break to show more of the movie that explained the theme of the show and tie it all together. In essence, the clips tell the story of Jay and Beyoncé as they live their romantic criminal lives “on the run” from the authorities. The acting isn’t half bad and it doesn’t hesitate to deliver many shots of shiny guns, hazey strip clubs, desert car chases and of course Beyoncé’s uber sexy lingerie/balaklava combo.
The two went back and forth, letting each other have solo time on the stage performing their most iconic songs for about an hour until those scintillating strings of “Drunk in Love” came through the speakers. Beyoncé took control of entire first verse until Jay emerged from the rising platform in the middle of the stage to rap his verse to the 2014 smash hit. In all honesty, this was easily the standout track in terms of delivery and crowd reaction. Beyoncé’s vocals exceeded all expectations as she belted out the song’s chorus whereas Jay didn’t miss a beat with his 16 bar verse.
The second half of the show featured more of the two’s individual classics such as Jay Z’s “PSA” and Bey’s “Single Ladies.” At this point, it becomes quite clear of large and immaculate these two’s catalogues actually are. They have 17 solo albums between them which makes picking the set-list a near impossible task. But to no surprise, they got it right.
After more than two hours on stage, the two wrapped things up with a duo rendition of “Young Forever,” “Halo” and “Lift Off” which gave the crowd mixed emotions. You could feel the crowd’s continuous adrenaline rush after the 120 minute display of musical greatness but on the other hand, the thought of it all coming to an end quieted the audience as a whole.
As Jay Z yelled out his classic “Goodnight Toronto, we love you!,” the crowd rose for a standing ovation that lasted what felt like 15 minutes. When the lights came back on and the smoke from the stage sparklers had cleared, you could see just how many people were packed into the Rogers Centre. Having personally been to many Jay Z concerts, the amount of dedicated fans in the building was unmatched. It is truly a testament to how talented these two are as individuals and also to how collaborative they are as performers. There was never a dull moment and I’m sure most of the crowd left feeling crazy in love with their performance.
Written by Scotty Glaysher for HipHopCanada
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Twitter: @S_C_ | @Beyonce