If I could sum up the “On the Run II” tour in one word, it’d simply be confidence.
Beyonce and Jay-Z are both seasoned veterans in their careers and their stage presence, even in front of a stadium crowd, is radiating and something to be applauded.
The “billion-dollar” power couple performed in Columbus at the Ohio Stadium Thursday night for the latest stop on their co-headlining world tour.
Going into the show, I honestly didn’t have any crazy expectations – I just expected an entertaining show between two legendary musicians. I expected amazing choreography from Beyonce and her dancers, and a great rap performance from Jay-Z.
But I got much more than that.
The two performed non-stop for well over two hours taking turns between duets and solo performances while the other was backstage preparing for the next set.
They opened to thunderous roars as they performed Jay-Z’s hit, “Holy Grail,” “03 Bonnie and Clyde,” “On the Run” and “Drunk in Love.”
At this point, I noticed they were a few songs in and Beyonce hadn’t even done any choreography yet, which is usually the staple at her live shows. But it just let me know that she’s gotten to a point in her career where her presence alone can hold the attention of 50,000-plus people.
Throughout the show, their enormous three-part projector screen and stage played a big part in their performance. It opened to reveal three levels of band members, DJ’s and dancers, while their stage literally rose up and traveled horizontally above the pit numerous times.
However, the visuals they displayed captured my attention the most. It’s almost like they shot a short film just for this tour. From what I gathered, this short film told the story of the couple living in a rough town in the islands where they had a lot of illegal money, which got them in trouble with the wrong people and sent them on the run.
The short film even featured cameos from their three children.
Throughout the show they performed hits from the past two decades including “Dirt off Your Shoulder,” “Baby Boy,” “Countdown,” “99 Problems,” “Family Feud,” “Freedom” and many more.
Some of the personal highlights for me were Beyonce’s impressive vocal chops on “I Care” and “Resentment,” and Jay-Z’s vulnerability on “Song Cry” and “The Story of O.J.” During the latter, he performed in all black while the screen projected mugshots of many famous African-American celebrities including himself, Meek Mill, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and many more.
Another highlight was the interpolation of their songs including “Clique/Diva,” “I Care/4:44” and “Naughty Girl/Big Pimpin’.”
At this point in their careers, the one thing that did surprise me, was the almost uniform chemistry between the too. When they were on stage together, they had two separate cameras on each of them, never taking shine from one another.
From stolen glances to flirtatious smiles between each other throughout the show, they even lip synched each other’s verses word for word, proving that the music industry’s power couple knows each other’s respective catalogues like the back of their hand.
Above all, I could just tell the couple was genuinely enjoying their performance. It never felt like they were just going through the motions and they were all smiles throughout the show.
Jay-Z even personalized the show by continuously yelling out “OH,” an Ohio State rite of passage for visitors at this point.
It made sense with their latest album, “Everything is Love” for Jay-Z’s last words to the crowd to be “only love can conquer hate Ohio!”