Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Bey­once no or­di­nary per­former

- RE­VIEW By Stephanie Classen Entertainment · Musicians · Celebrities · Music · Beyoncé · Cirque du Soleil · Iceland · Déjà Vu · Edmonton · Rihanna · Destiny's Child · Alanis Morissette · Sarah McLachlan · Sasha · Tina Turner · Austria · Ávila · Belgium · Eva Avila

Fri­day

night’s Bey­once con­cert in Saskatoon was all about the spec­ta­cle. A dim­mer star would fade amidst the strate­gi­cally lit-up cod­piece, the Cirque du Soleil-style fly­ing and the troupe of backup dancers wear­ing noth­ing but skintight PVC.

But Bey­once is no or­di­nary per­former. From note one, the 27-yearold pow­er­house rose above all the gim­micks, mas­ter­ing the show like a sexy alien over­lord princess. Noth­ing but ex­trater­res­trial ori­gins could ex­plain that voice.

Open­ing with the song Deja Vu from her al­bum B’Day, Bey­once emerged on the com­plex stage and the over­dressed au­di­ence hap­pily rose out of Credit Union Cen­tre’s plas­tic seats. She sparkled in a gold body­suit with a mas­sive bow bus­tle — the first of many pant­less cos­tumes. Flanked by an all-fe­male band, the night un­folded with hit af­ter hit, all star­ring a woman who could per­form cir­cles around any other pop star to­day.

The Saskatoon con­cert was just the sec­ond stop on a tour that will even­tu­ally tra­verse the globe. Ed­mon­ton, a seem­ingly odd choice, was privy to the very first Bey­once I Am . . . stop. The StarPhoeni­x wasn’t al­lowed to shoot pho­tos of the show, but plenty have al­ready been leaked on­line thanks to cell­phone cam­eras. One can’t help but won­der if hold­ing the first few shows in smaller cities was meant to work out any kinks be­fore the tour reaches big­ger mar­kets. It that was the case it wasn’t nec­es­sary, be­cause Saskatoon’s show was noth­ing short of spec­tac­u­lar.

Bey­once al­ready has a huge cat­a­logue of hits to draw from thanks to her solo records, her role in Des­tiny’s Child and her work in movies. She wailed — not just sang — Crazy in Love, Naughty Girl, Freakum Dress, Ra­dio and Check On It. There was also a DC med­ley that, of course, fea­tured the aptly named Booty­li­cious. A sur­prise Cana­dian shout out — for those who didn’t read the Ed­mon­ton re­views — came when she sang ex­cerpts of You Oughta Know by Ala­nis Morisette and An­gel by Sarah McLach­lan.

The fierce­ness that is her sassy half Sasha made for the most dance­able, fun mo­ments of the show, but Bey­once also slowed it down for the an­gelic Halo and If I Were a Boy.

But the woman can do more than sing. Her Tina Turner legs — and dance moves to match — and con­fi­dent, yet down-to-earth, charm were all on dis­play. It is rare to see some­one per­form that hard when they could sim­ply rely on blessed vo­cal cords.

Bey­once doesn’t re­ally need the bells and whis­tles of a big sta­dium show, but it sure makes for an un­for­get­table con­cert. And as she says in the song Ego, “I walk like this ’cuz I can back it up.”

For­mer Cana­dian Idol con­tes­tant Eva Avila opened the show. Though she has grown since her stint on the TV tal­ent show, an over­ac­tive smoke ma­chine and blind­ing spot­lights ob­scured her per­for­mance. Plus, at only four songs, the pe­tite singer didn’t get much of a chance to ful­fil her warm­ing-up du­ties. At best, Avila of­fered a pretty voice and a few av­er­age pop songs. Her per­for­mance was nice, but the Owe It All To You singer will be the last thing on the mind’s of Saskatoon con­cert­go­ers to­day.

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