Before reviewing last night's Jay Z and Beyonce show at Soldier Field, we should address the elephant in the room: According to Page Six, Mr. and Mrs. Carter are headed toward divorce. The abridged version of the theory says they're only doing the "On the Run" tour as a final cash-grab before splitting up forever. Is it true? I don't know. But the report likely turned Thursday's massive crowd into relationship analysts when the couple's hug abruptly turned into an awkward handshake and Beyonce covered Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor," a song that’s definitely about a breakup.
As for the two-and-a-half-hour show itself: It was stupendous--a polished, live equivalent of a “Best of” double album. (While we’re throwing out speculation about the Carters, I’d like to submit that this show will end up in Vegas in the next five to 10 years. Though Jay's untouchable stage presence and Beyonce's risqué, freakishly athletic dance moves and multiple costume changes would entertain anywhere.) From the minimalist aesthetic of the stage to the amazing amount of pyrotechnics and choreography, the production had professionalism and purpose written all over it. The set list allowed all parties to indulge in their favorites: You got both Bey/Jay to start, then Jay for a few songs, then Beyonce, then both, repeat. More than 40 hits were played, from “Hard Knock Life” to “Partition” to “Jigga My N***a.” If you're wondering which Carter brought the bigger fanbase, it looked like a draw.
... That is, until “Drunk In Love” came on. Beyonce's performance of the crown jewel from her self-titled 2013 album might have set a record for “Most grown men attempting to sing a note they have no chance of hitting.” (Yours truly is included in that one, by the way.) The show ended on a lovely note, with both Jay and Bey singing a “Halo”/"Forever Young” medley while video of the couple and their daughter Blue Ivy played. I spent a majority of the night trying to decipher the Carter code, but it only left me with more questions.
Do these two still love each other? Where is Blue right now? What did she order at Chicago Cut the other night? Can babies eat creamed spinach?
My wise girlfriend, noticing my frustration, casually rocked my world with her theory on the whole thing: It’s indeed a sham, but not for the reason everyone thinks. Her words: “The whole thing is an attempt to make us feel like we’re seeing the real them. See, that album Beyonce dropped made everyone crazy because she was talking about personal stuff like trust, marriage and feminism. That was a diversion from the real deal. Everything you think you know about them is a guess. They’re doing this to get money from people like you who read into things too much and will attend the concerts and buy the records to figure out more.”
If that’s the truth (and I hope it is; speculating on strangers' divorce is both tiring and really lame), then you really can’t knock the hustle, can you?
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