On the evening of May 14th, a little after 8 pm, amid the coolly crisp Southern California air, a loud buzz rang through. There were 80,000 Bey Hive Members in attendance at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, led by the Queen Bey herself, Beyoncé, who brought the masses to their feet in an almost surreal spectacle.
Beyoncé could do no wrong with a crowd of unflagging and unrelenting admirers, who were overwhelming in size, like clustered stars in the sky. They were just as much a part of the sweet splendor of Pasadena prestige on this night, oooing and swaying to the embodiment of female empowerment.
There was already much to be excited about even before the most incredible LED square-shaped behemoth lit up, rotated on a movable axis, and played promos of Beyoncé holding a moth orchid flower in her mouth, signaling her physical arrival.
Fat Joe, Ne-Yo, and Snoop Dogg riled up the the throngs front and center, while social media murmurings of LA-based celebrities in attendance, such as Khloé & Kourtney Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Shark Tank‘s Robert Herjavec, Kerry Washington, and The Office‘s Leslie David Baker, gave the impression of something special – that of all the dates on Beyoncé’s Formation Tour, this might be the most star-studded.
From the moment Beyoncé appeared (clad in black and black-rimmed hat) to deafening applause and performed the first song of over thirty for the evening – “Formation” from her recently released Lemonade album – there was nary a lull in the festivities which lasted more than two-and-a-half hours.
One of the evening’s highlights included fan-favorite “Crazy in Love.” It started with an avant-garde flourish of Beyoncé and her dancers on stage, adorned in skin-tight red outfits, and undulating seductively inside a row of wooden rectangular boxes. Beyoncé then rose up and out through the box she was in (via a platform levitating device), singing a gritty and hard-edged, though fantastically fresh rendition of the tune. Soon, the Queen Bey segued into the familiar rhythm, inviting her jovial swarm of followers to join in.
Toward the middle of the set, when Beyoncé was off stage likely getting ready for her next number, there was a very tactful tribute to Prince that brought everyone in the stadium closer together. Strangers, friends, and a makeshift family of 80,000 strong for the duration of the show formed a humane, collective consciousness. Transformed into fireflies by virtue of their cellphone lights, the attendees paid their respects to the fallen genius musician as the gargantuan LED cube irradiated a modest purple hue while “Purple Rain” played over the loud speakers.
Complementing the fierce pop and circumstance of heavy bassline tunes, energetic anthems, and her celestial cult of personality, were ballads that demonstrated Beyoncé’s humility. During “1+1” and “Me, Myself and I,” the artist sang to the heavens, sitting on the floor with her knees under her, at ease with herself and the momentousness of the night. There she was, somehow a human being like all of us – a mother, a daughter, and a wife, not unlike many in the audience.
When the set came to a close, and with the bold and beautiful crowd showing no signs of letting up, Beyoncé and her dancers, barefoot and in white attire, gave the hordes a reprieve from the Southern California drought. Performing a synchronized song & dance of “Freedom” inside a vat of water, Beyoncé and her ensemble cast gave the illusion of walking on water, as they kicked and turned in fluid motion to create a water-works spectacular, each drop and spray ostensibly part of a grand and meticulous design. With her hair obviously wet, Beyoncé soaked up the moment, infused by her individual prowess and sustained by her impeccable equanimity, right up until “Halo” concluded the night.
Truthfully, it is all a reflection of Beyoncé’s resplendent reality. At only 34 years of age, and a veteran of the music business for nearly twenty years (a realization starkly expressed by the artist), Beyoncé grows stronger and more unstoppable with each passing year. She now has nightly crowd panoramas to “slay” with and entertain, using her arrayed artistic palette to make brush strokes with.
For more information about The Formation World Tour, visit