Beyoncé brought her Formation World Tour to Glasgow and gave an almighty performance that towered almost as high as the 60ft tall ‘Monolith’ that dominated the stage. Few other people can rival her for her stage presence and voice.
Packing out the largest stadium in Scotland, 50,000 people lapped up a set that saw Queen Bey perform tracks from the start of her pop career 19 years ago with Destiny’s Child through to her latest ground-breaking album Lemonade. With such an extensive back catalogue to choose from for the set list, she made the wise decision to power through as many of her biggest hits as possible (‘Diva’, ‘Crazy in Love’, ‘Irreplaceable’ to name but a few of the 32 tracks performed on the night). In order to squeeze as many of these fan-favourite tracks as possible into two hours, some tracks were mashed up which worked to great effect.
The stage show was divided into chapters, much like the Lemonade film, with the giant ‘Monolith’ rotating and showing images from the music videos while Beyoncé was off-stage for costume changes (of which there were quite a few). It wasn’t the only spectacular piece of staging, though. The B Stage in the middle of the audience filled with gallons of water that Beyoncé and her backing dancers performed in towards the end of the show (standing in the splash zone for that would’ve been even more spectacular!). The walkway to the B Stage was also revealed to be a treadmill halfway through the show as it propelled dancers around. Having read about how the massive scale of the staging meant the capacity at most of the venues that the tour has visited had to be reduced, it now comes as no surprise.
Opening the show with recent single ‘Formation’, the crowd was raucous right from the off for such a thumping tune. When she first stepped on stage, the sheer scale of the staging became even more striking as it towered over her. It is a credit to her that such giant staging didn’t overpower her. Instead it did almost the opposite, it helped her to tell a story. Her stage presence was noticeable straight from this moment, so much so that it was one of those rare concerts where you genuinely feel overwhelmingly star struck even though she was so far away.
It wasn’t just catchy pop anthems though, there were more intimate moments where she performed ‘Love on Top’ and ‘Irreplaceable’ a Capella with just a spotlight on her. It was moments like this that really showed off the sheer power of her voice, given that it boomed through such a massive venue.
While those a Capella moments were touching, the most powerful moment came towards the end of the show when she dedicated ‘Freedom’ to Alton Sterling and countless other black victims of gun crime. There was a moment of silence before she belted it out with distinct passion.
She also paid tribute to Prince by playing the original recording ‘Purple Rain’ in full during one of the interludes, with the ‘Monolith’ lighting up purple and purple lights glowing over the audience. Everyone singing along made this another special moment.
The contrast between these intimate touches and the thundering performances involving pyrotechnics, dance routines and other magnificent set pieces made the show all the more interesting.
If there’s one thing this concert has reaffirmed: Beyoncé slays!
5 out of 5