Beyoncé showcases her dominance at concert
NEW YORK (AP) — With 16 Grammys, millions of records sold, several defining hits and a superstar husband, Beyoncé has nothing to prove.
But sometimes, even queens need to show what it means to be royalty. And on Sunday night, Beyoncé arrived at the Roseland Ballroom to give fans and critics alike a reminder that she remains the head diva in the music world. She made her case to a select group of fans one rump-shaking move at a time.
"This show is going to be a little different," Beyoncé told the standing-room crowd at the show's outset. "I just want to have a good time."
But she clearly had more on her agenda for Sunday's concert, the first of a four-night run at the famed concert-dance hall. While she usually performs for audiences of around 20,000, Beyoncé downsized at Roseland for a sold-out crowd of about 3,000 to promote her new album 4, which has received critical acclaim and has been certified platinum since its June release, but has not dominated sales and radio charts as her previous three solo albums, all multiplatinum successes with multiple hits, did.
Sunday's concert was Beyoncé's dazzling rebuttal to all that talk: She put her track record up for display along with her new material and a subtle but undeniable message that she is not to be doubted, or counted against. Dressed in a shimmering gold minidress, she gave fans a history lesson of how Beyoncé became Beyoncé from her early days as the star of Destiny's Child to her reign at the top of the charts with such hits as Crazy in Love and Single Ladies.
She kicked things off by reaching deep into the past to do a song by one of her idols -- Michael Jackson's I Wanna Be Where You Are. Like Jackson, Beyoncé started singing as a child, and like Jackson, she became the undisputed star of her group. I Wanna Be Where You Are was a song Destiny's Child once sang for a recording contract audition that ended unsuccessfully. Beyoncé noted that the setback didn't stop them -- a recurring theme for her concert, and her career.
Throughout the first half of the show, Beyoncé ran through the chart-topping hits that came from her pen such as Independent Women, and said they were often inspired by her critics. Before launching into Survivor, she told the crowd about all the jokes lobbed at Destiny's Child and their ever-changing personnel.
"This song was the defining moment of our career," she said, noting the constant criticism she received at the time. "It actually inspired me." Later, she recalled how her record company wasn't a fan of her solo debut, Dangerously in Love.
"They told me I did not have one hit song on my album," she said of the album that contained such hits as the title track and Baby Boy.
"I guess they were kind of right: I had five," she boasted, before launching into a smoldering, slow version of the album's biggest hit, Crazy in Love.
She said the album 4 was about "being brave, managing myself ... giving myself artistic freedom to make real music for you." That freedom resulted in an album that showcased her romantic, torch-song persona with her bootylicious, dance-groove side. Though she didn't sing every song on the album, she sang most of them, from the Kanye West-produced Party to the girl-wronged anthem Best Thing I Never Had to the infectious, marching-band inspired End of Time.
"I searched the world, and found myself," she declared.
She ended the night with the song I Was Here, a celebration of having left a lasting legacy -- a point she underscored at Roseland to perfection.