On last year's Yeezus, Kanye West barked that "I Am a God."
Last night at Jay-Z and Beyoncé's batshit crazy On the Run Tour stop in Seattle, the couple one-upped Kanye by flashing the image of the cross behind them throughout the show, sometimes alongside the word "SCRIPTURE" and kaleidoscopic images of weeping saints.
Safeco Field, effectively transformed into a rapturous church of 21st Century feminism, booty, and swagger, responded by offering up complete and utter devotion. People writhed uncontrollably on top of their folding chairs, held their hands to the heavens in fits of personal pop-epiphany, and I think I saw someone crying.
They woke up like this.
(Photo by Mason Poole/Parkwood Entertainment/PictureGroup)
When Beyoncé came out on the runway that split the crowd, attendees trampled on top of each other to attempt some small form physical union with Beyoncé—a quick touch of the hand, or even just a fleeting moment of eye contact. Those who were able to achieve communion left charged with some kind of ephemeral ecstatic energy, violently shaking the friends and complete strangers around them who might have bared witness to the exchange. Nearly half of the jam-packed stadium showed up wearing shirts with Queen B's image or at least one word of her "scripture" printed on them: SURFBOARD, FLAWLESS, etc.
One shirt just had a picture of Beyoncé's butt, an entity that was highly present during the popular assless chap section of the show.
All in all, Beyoncé entertained the hell out of everyone present.
Jay-Z, on the other hand, seemed too confident in his own baller-status to really put on a performance. While "99 Problems" and "Hard Knock Life" certainly lit off the crowd, his segments of the show were accompanied with maybe 1/4 the fanfare of Beyoncé's. In the end, he mostly seemed present only to play foil to Beyoncé in the strange meta-narrative the couple appear to be weaving about their marriage and (supposed) impending divorce, thanks to a rumored affair Jay-Z had.
Before the show began, the screen flashed the words "THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE," setting the weird illumanti/Twilight Zone vibe that would accompany the show's allusions to the rumored adultering Jay-Z.
(Photo by Mason Poole/Parkwood Entertainment/PictureGroup).
Jay-Z's apologetic songs like "Song Cry" were performed solo in a confessional manner in front of a lone mic and a dimmed stage, and were often followed up by Beyoncé's anti-cheater anthems like "Resentment," which she performed in her wedding dress with a noted spitefulness—changing the lines to "I'll always remember feeling like I was no good / Like I couldn't do it for you like that wack bitch could/ Been ridin' with you for twelve years/ I gotta look at her in her eyes and see she's had half of me. She ain't even half of me. That bitch will never be."
This back and forth pattern of remorseful Jay-Z song/"Screw you, I'm gonna be fine even though you hurt me" Beyoncé song repeated throughout the show, ending in a performative reconcilliation between Jay-Z and Beyoncé as "Love on Top" rang out. When images of Jay-Z and Beyoncé playing with their baby, Blue, projected on screen, the words "THIS IS REAL LIFE" eerily appeared.
So, who knows if they are really getting divorced, if Solange's elevator video is really indicative of anything, or if this is all a genius marketing ploy.
Between all the quaking and euphoric tears, the crowd certainly didn't seem to care.