Arena - 10th November 2003
It was obvious
from the start that there was one "Independent Woman" destined
for super-stardom. Sure, the other two members of Destiny's
Child were likely to be successful in their chosen fields,
but Beyoncé Knowles proved
early on that she was the main driving force behind the trio's massive
chart successes, writing and producing hits such as 'Bootylicious', 'Survivor'
and the worldwide number one, 'Independent Women'. Her own solo album,
'Dangerously In Love', shot to the top of the UK album charts when it
was released back in July, and ever since then, the Texas' golden girl
can seem to do no wrong.
Beyoncé's European tour touched down in London on November 10th,
with an extra date added on the 11th due to popular demand. If her previous
stage performances at the MTV Video Music Awards and the recent European
Music Awards were anything to go by, fans were in for a real treat. And
they were certainly not disappointed.
The former 5ive member, Abs,
and the exceptionally talented Shaun Emmanuel
(who, coincidently, also opened for Kelly Rowland
on her European tour), supported the Destiny's Child lead singer, doing
a good job of hyping up the crowd for the main event.
When the lights dimmed completely and the atmosphere grew quiet, the curtains
opened to reveal a couch in the middle of the stage with several female
dancers shaking their booties to the Eastern vibes of 'Baby Boy', a collaboration
with reggae artist Sean Paul. Then,
Beyoncé made her appearance suspended from the ceiling, and the
crowd went wild as they watched her being lowered onto the red lounger.
Wearing a cropped red and gold top with matching pants, she showed that
she could dance as well as sing, and moved effortlessly into 'Naughty
Girl', a track which samples the Donna Summer classic, 'Love To Love You
Donning a white tailcoat and hat, the 22-year-old gave a beautiful rendition
of 'Fever' from her new movie, 'The Fighting Temptations', in which Beyoncé
stars alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and
Mike Epps. Then, continuing in the
mid-tempo pattern, she performed the eclectic 'Hip Hop
Star', a track featuring Sleepy Brown
and OutKast's Big
Boi, before getting into Seventies mode with 'Work It Out',
the theme song to her debut film 'Austin Powers 3: Goldmember'. For the
ballad section of the show, Beyoncé slipped into a silky gold dress,
and sat under a makeshift
starlit sky, singing slow jams including 'Be With You', 'Gift From Virgo'
and 'Speechless', leaving the largely teenage audience in awe of her beauty
and vocal prowess.
Next came a Destiny's Child interlude, with Beyoncé going back
to her roots singing snippets of the group's songs 'Bugaboo', 'No, No,
No', 'Jumpin Jumpin', and 'Say My Name', as well as the hook of ''03 Bonnie
& Clyde', the summer smash she featured on with Jay-Z.
Displaying her love
of Michael Jackson's music, Beyoncé
launched into a few MJ cuts from his 'Off The Wall' era, before reverting
back to present day and the P.Diddy-produced
'Summertime', from 'The Fighting Temptations' movie soundtrack.
The final ballad of the night was the title track 'Dangerously In Love',
on which Beyoncé displayed her extensive vocal range to the fans'
delight. As the stage cleared and the lights dimmed, there seemed to be
only one song that the sexy star had not yet performed - her UK No.1 'Crazy
In Love'. The crowd jumped to their feet as soon as they heard the unmistakable
beat, and sure enough, Miss Knowles appeared in a glittering silver dress,
launching into her debut solo single. The sound of the whole arena singing
along with her, word for word, was astounding, and the beaming smile on
Beyoncé's face said it all. When two male dancers stripped off
their overcoat and hat, the girls in the audience went mad, and the screams
became deafening as the one and only Jay-Z ran on stage to spit his verse
halfway through the track. Although many fans, including myself, were
still in shock at the appearance of Jigga, they left Wembley overjoyed
at Beyoncé's whole performance throughout the concert, and felt
lucky to have witnessed one of the best gigs of 2003.
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