Beyoncé and Jay Z are on their way to AT&T Park in San Francisco on August 5 and 6 following two nights at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. If Instagram feeds are any indication, the On The Run tour was the place to be this past Saturday and Sunday nights in Los Angeles. The two-and-a-half hour show was a non-stop journey through some of Bey and Jay’s most memorable and popular songs. Due to their extensive catalogues of hits, they chose to do mashup versions of a number of their songs. This choice allowed them to pack in all of the fan favorites into one show, as well as to marry their respective bodies of work into one cohesive experience.
Beyond just interweaving songs in order to create cohesion, the order of the songs loosely followed the overall arc of a love story. The title of the tour is “On The Run” and it included many allusions to the story of Bonnie and Clyde. This theme was present throughout the performance from their song “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” to the onstage videos showing Beyoncé and Jay Z acting out some outlaw scenes wearing ski masks. The songs started out light and happy before moving into Beyoncé’s songs about cheating (“Resentment”), unrequited love (“Why Don’t You Love Me”), and eventually songs about love prevailing (“Love on Top”). Recent rumors about cheating and a possible divorce between the power duo added another layer of interest to several of the songs as some of the fans were undoubtedly debating whether the rumors were true as they watched the pair on stage.
Musical performances can be divided into two categories: concerts and shows. Concerts can be amazing displays of musical talent by singers and bands, but the spectacle put on by Jay Z and Beyoncé was beyond just a musical performance. “On The Run” was an exhibition of film, fashion, music, pop culture and dance, setting the bar for what a show can be. Both Beyoncé and Jay Z also sported some high-fashion outfits.
Several of Beyoncé’s bodysuits were custom-made for her by designer Michael Costello. Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy also designed a few of Beyoncé’s pieces, including a black American flag gown. Jay Z’s outfits also featured some of today’s biggest names in fashion, such as Givenchy, Tom Ford and Rodarte.
On display were videos spliced mostly in between songs when the duo was presumably taking a quick break or doing a wardrobe change. The short films were mostly black and white and showcased a twist on classic Americana imagery with Beyoncé and Jay Z riding a motorcycle through the desert and Beyoncé riding a horse across a traditional “Western” landscape.
Gun references were also rampant throughout the performance. All styles of guns appeared in the videos and many of Beyoncé and her dancers’ moves simulated shooting guns accompanied by audio mimicking guns being loaded and shot. There was even a Magritte reference, as Beyoncé was showed on screen with a gun and the words “This is not a gun.”
The show ended with a reel of the duo’s home videos and an embrace on stage shared by the couple. For such a private couple, this tour really put parts of their relationship on display. Perhaps this has fueled speculation about the state of their marriage, but the performance definitely made this viewer want to root for the pair. But if the show had a final take-away message, the fan adoration and screaming made it clear that Beyoncé was the star of this show.