Beyonce’s Intimate Night At Roseland Ballroom: Idolator Review

Whether she’s striving for award-show excellence with new technology and dizzying choreography or rocking out with her all-girl band at one of the world’s biggest music festivals, Beyonce never fails to amaze. The self-proclaimed Jay-Z groupie raised the bar for live entertainment even higher last night with a flawless display at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom. After powering through an unexpected overview of her glittering career, the pop-up shopper launched into songs from her latest album 4 and put on a show that few in the 3,200 strong audience will ever forget. Jump below to find out what an intimate night with a 16-time Grammy winner entails.

With fans queuing in relentless rain for hours — in some cases, overnight — to get a good spot in the standing-room only venue, the pre-show atmosphere at the premiere of 4 Intimate Nights was surprisingly subdued. But sore feet and damp clothes were quickly forgotten when the 29-year-old hit the stage in a slinky gold mini-dress. Beyonce told the adoring crowd that she wanted to share her story. There was a little confusion and a lot of joy when the “Lift Off” singer began performing snippets of early Destiny’s Child hits (“No, No, No” and “Bug A Boo”) and wittily explained each step of her career.

She recounted the birth of Destiny’s Child (when she was 9 years old), spoke of the band’s early rejection and made a series of cute puns about their ever-changing line-up. Highlights included “Survivor” and an inspired rendition of “Bootylicious.” The 2011 MTV Video Music Award nominee then moved on to her solo material, re-enacting her iconic “Crazy In Love” catwalk strut and calling on the crowd’s help for an “Irreplaceable” sing-a-long. Bey then performed “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” — complete with famous choreography.

After finishing her surprise walk down memory lane, Beyonce said she had reached the point in her career where she wanted to make “real music” for herself and her fans. It was risky to turn away from the urban-dance sound currently ruling the airwaves in favor of organic, ’70s- and ’80s-inspired soul music, but the aspiring director seems to have pulled it off. Her enthusiasm and passion for 4 are catching and the new songs were eagerly devoured by the knowledgeable crowd who clapped and sang along with every line.

Sitting on top of a piano with her band and orchestra watching on, Beyonce wrung every ounce of emotion from the lyrics of “1+1″ and hit each note perfectly. It was an impressive display, but her rendition of “I Care” was even better. The recent Harper’s Bazaar cover girl whipped her hair to the brooding brass and ominous beat, while bringing the song to life with an immaculate vocal. Out of nowhere, this often-overlooked track now seems single-worthy.

Other highlights included “Love On Top”, which was given an uptempo overhaul and got everyone moving to the catchy synths, and “Rather Die Young.” Beyonce described the latter as one of her favorite tracks on 4, and it’s easy to see why: the Luke Steele-penned ballad allowed her to show off her powerful pipes, particularly in the dramatic chorus. As great as those two tracks sounded live, “Countdown” and “End Of Time” garnered the most applause. Both were accompanied by brilliant dance routines and boast sing-a-long choruses.

With the exception of the curiously-omitted “Start Over,” Beyonce eventually performed every song from the standard edition of 4. The worldly pop icon‘s ability to bring new depth and texture to quality material is almost as impressive as her uncanny knack for connecting with the audience on an emotional level. Take, for instance, the final song — it was impossible not to be moved by Mrs. Carter as she fought tears while tackling the clearly personal lyrics of “I Was Here,” which deals with trying to leave a mark on the world. But the pop veteran can sleep easy. Mission well and truly accomplished.

Reporting by Mike Wass

idolator
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brandon-Hall/1179383854 Brandon Hall

    Beyonce is clearly the best entertainer in the industry right now

    http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lhx1nxTbsR1qbk03no1_r1_500.gif

    But who is Mike Wass?

  • Mei

    She tore the paint off Love on Top, I Care & Rather Die Young. She tore down the whole show. People didn’t want to leave and wanted more. Understandly so. King B KILLED IT!!!

  • Troy

    I was there and only because my friend who is a avid beYAWNcy fan bought my ticket. I’ve never been a fan of hers and still not even after this. It seems she’s so insecure and has something to prove and I guess with good reason. She hasn’t really hasn’t laid down any type of foundation for a place in popular music. None of her music, not even on this cd showcases who she is. Her ballads, mediocre, her fast songs not even on the level of Miss Jackson or Michael Jackson. It’s more industry bubble gum, “let me make a quick buck” type of music. In saying all of that her voice was strong, but very aggressive as always so much so that she seemed to be wailing and screaming as if she needs attention or the world to hear her. Some of the crowd was pumped, those who were her fans and there were some that were not moved or impressed by what she had to offer. Some of her fans I’m sure will say she KILLED IT, but truth be told, she was moderate at best.

  • Xadax

    She lowered a lot of songs in key. Just like Halo, Listen, Deja Vu, Dangerously In Love etc…

  • http://www.twitter.com/noelster_sf noelster

    few reviews manage to capture the scene of a show quite like this. i wasn’t there, but i can already smell the damp polyester wigs, melting diva face paint, and wet house of dereon bedding wrapped around the rain-soaked crowd at roseland. hopefully king b will take this show on the road and give the rest of the country a taste of live reimagined hits from 4.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/sobercool ERIC

    I would die If “I Care’ gets single treatment. It’s an otherworldly song.

  • Nate

    Typical hater. Don’t lie, you weren’t there.

  • briddy

    yet….you typed a whole essay on how bad or “mediocre” her performance was…puh-lease, if you really felt that way you wouldnt waste the time to even write that.