Bey­once marches to dif­fer­ent drum­line

Destiny’s Child re­unites at Coachella

Arab Times - - NEWS/FEATURES -

LOS AN­GE­LES, April 16, (Agen­cies): At Coachella, Bey­once gave the per­for­mance she should have given at the Su­per Bowl. Granted, she had an hour and 45 min­utes to work with at the desert fes­ti­val Satur­day night, ver­sus only 13 min­utes to work with at that gig five years ago. But if the net­work, NFL, Ravens, 49ers and their fans had seen what we saw at the Em­pire Polo Grounds, surely they would have agreed by ac­cli­ma­tion to, you know, just put the third quar­ter off by an hour and a half.

Part of the bril­liance of Satur­day’s set was that it was more of a half-time show than her half-time show, in that she took the march­ing band that has been per­sona non grata at the Bowl for years and built a 105-minute per­for­mance around over­packed horn charts, glo­ri­fied drum ma­jorettes and non­stop drum­line in­san­ity. Who would’ve guessed the miss­ing in­gre­di­ents needed to ratchet her cat­a­log a step up into great­ness were ex­cep­tion­ally ar­ranged tubas and tim­bales? It was an over-thetop Busby Berke­ley Hol­ly­wood mu­si­cal brought to the mod­ern day by way of the great HBCU march­ing units of the South, and it was fairly glo­ri­ous.

The show served as tes­ta­ment not only to Bey­once as the premier mu­si­cal per­former of our time, but a trib­ute to the power of the non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment. Only re­cently did re­ports emerge that the singer had hired about a hun­dred backup per­form­ers — the ac­tual num­ber was prob­a­bly a lit­tle less, though the cast never stood still long enough for any­one to count — and even then, as re­hearsals in­volved lock­ing down a stage in L.A. for at least three months, vir­tu­ally noth­ing about the na­ture of the per­for­mance leaked out, ex­cept for ru­mors about an­other Destiny’s Child re­union... which ended up be­ing true, even if that part was a nearly su­per­flu­ous cherry atop the blitz. (Prob­a­bly any backup per­former con­sid­er­ing vi­o­lat­ing the NDA thought of how much worse they’d get it than Jay-Z did on “Lemon­ade.”)

While a YouTube au­di­ence waited at home for the feed to go live, the Coachella au­di­ence (com­prised of the bet­ter part of the 125,000 in at­ten­dance for the day) saw noth­ing but 11 stag­gered rows of spot­lights. Come the ap­pointed minute, the plat­form hold­ing those lights rose and re­vealed her cast of dozens, in­clud­ing not only a march­ing-in-place band but vi­o­lin


Big busi­ness on Sun­day joined a grow­ing cho­rus of crit­i­cism in Ger­many over the award­ing of an an­nual mu­sic prize to a pair of rap­pers ac­cused of anti-Semitic play­ers, plus con­tor­tion­ists, “Bug A Boo” Greek-pledge male dancers, and a baton twirler to beat all baton twirlers. Com­ing down the walk­way, mi­dau­di­ence, Bey­once ini­tially ap­peared in your ba­sic mod­est Egyp­tian queen en­sem­ble, then quickly switched to cut­off jeans. That was the first of, sur­pris­ingly, only a cou­ple of true cos­tume changes: Part of the clev­er­ness of this show was that it was staged as a se­ries of vari­a­tions on one epic pro­duc­tion, not the se­ries of sep­a­rate vignettes you get on a typ­i­cal su­per-diva tour.

Nearly two dozen tracks got at least a par­tial hear­ing, from the open­ing “Crazy in Love,” the hit whose sam­pled horn charts surely pro­voked the su­per­sized ver­sion here, to her great­est re­cent sin­gle, “Free­dom” — which gave way to an ex­tended coda of “Lift Ev­ery Voice and Sing,” the black na­tional an­them — to op­por­tu­ni­ties for Jay-Z, Solange and the two-thirds of Destiny’s Child to say their name. The Jack White-as­sisted stab at Jay, “Don’t Hurt Your­self,” oc­ca­sioned an ad­di­tional cos­tume change from friendly yel­low to a stee­l­ier acrylic black. Some snip­pets were so short they didn’t even ap­pear on the back­stage setlist, like a few lines of “Ir­re­place­able.” For a while it seemed like the only flaw of the show might be not tak­ing a mo­ment to breathe amid all the med­ley­iz­ing... and then she stopped to sing the ten­der, un­hur­ried “Love on Top,” and even that slight ob­jec­tion melted away.


It’s hard for any­one in the room, as it were, to know how it came off to the home view­ers it was just as much de­signed for — al­though one sus­pects we’ll soon get a reprise with some sort of home video re­lease. But on the premises, this sus­tained gam­bit of a rock­ing R&B show felt his­toric. Could Michael Jack­son, who was best in mi­cro­mo­ments, not at long-form con­cep­tual shows, have pulled off some­thing like this? Does men­tion­ing her in the same breath of a Gene Kelly do jus­tice to her danc­ing and con­cep­tual abil­i­ties, but not her voice, which would be su­per­star-mak­ing enough? Com­par­isons were al­ready hard enough to come by be­fore this show, fairly unique in the an­nals of mas­sively scaled pop one­offs, upped the ante even more. The pre­ci­sion of the chore­og­ra­phy and sheer work ethic could’ve made the pro­duc­tion seem more in­tim­i­dat­ing than in­gra­ti­at­ing

lyrics, with Air­bus CEO Tom Enders his con­dem­na­tion of the de­ci­sion.

Ger­man ex­ec­u­tive Enders told the Bild am Son­ntag news­pa­per he was shocked by what

adding ... but there was real joy in Bey­once’s per­for­mance, too, not just ge­nius and sweat.

“I was sup­posed to per­form at Coachella be­fore,” she told the crowd — un­nec­es­sar­ily for the live part of the au­di­ence, prob­a­bly, many of whom saw Lady Gaga as her fill-in last year — “but I ended up get­ting preg­nant. So I had time to dream and dream and dream with two beau­ti­ful souls in my belly, and I dreamed up this per­for­mance.” If the hor­mones re­ally did help with that, a lot of cre­atives would love to have what she was hav­ing.

Bey­once re­turned spec­tac­u­larly to the stage Satur­day with a joy­ous, home­com­ing-themed party at the Coachella fes­ti­val where she de­lighted fans with a rare re­union of her for­mer trio Destiny’s Child.

Bey­once showed no sign of slow­ing down af­ter her ma­ter­nity leave, singing and strut­ting her stuff with lit­tle break for two hours as she led around 100 back-up dancers and mu­si­cians.

Her hus­band, rap mogul Jay-Z, popped up on stage to­ward the end of her set to join in their song “Deja Vu.” But he turned out to be only a pre­view of a less rou­tine guest ap­pear­ance.

With an au­dio record­ing of nov­el­ist Chi­ma­manda Ngozi Adichie’s es­say “We Should All Be Fem­i­nists” al­low­ing Bey­once a mo­ment to pre­pare, she re-emerged be­ing el­e­vated to the stage in an un­mis­tak­able sil­hou­ette of three fig­ures.

Fel­low Destiny’s Child mem­bers Kelly Row­land and Michelle Williams joined Bey­once for three of the trio’s songs, in­clud­ing “Say My Name.”

It was their first re­union since Bey­once’s Su­per Bowl half­time show in 2013. The group pro­pelled Bey­once to star­dom but was also be­set by in­ter­nal fric­tion.

On Satur­day, Bey­once re­ferred to her band­mates as her “sis­ters” — and was also joined on stage by her real sis­ter, Solange Knowles.

Bey­once made clear from the start that Coachella was about re­unit­ing, with an an­nouncer start­ing the show by wel­com­ing guests to her “home­com­ing.”

A school’s worth of brass and string play­ers played from sta­dium-style stands as Bey­once en­tered to a New Or­leans-style march. She sported an al­lAmer­i­can out­fit of tight jean shorts and a col­le­giate sweat­shirt — the Greek let­ters, of course, start­ing with “B.”

he con­sid­ered wide­spread am­biva­lence about the Echo award given to rap­pers Kol­le­gah and Farid Bang, which co­in­cided with Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Day.

“That hurts Ger­many’s in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion. Is anti-Semitism be­com­ing ac­cept­able in Ger­many?” Enders told the news­pa­per, adding that it was his be­lief that an anti-Mus­lim text would have gen­er­ated far more out­rage.

The BVMI Ger­man mu­sic in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion had drawn in­creas­ing crit­i­cism in re­cent days for hon­our­ing the rap­pers’ al­bum, which sold more than 200,000 copies de­spite lyrics con­sid­ered of­fen­sive by many Jew­ish groups and oth­ers be­cause of lyrics that re­fer to the Auschwitz Nazi death camp. (RTRS)


Cae­sars En­ter­tain­ment Corp an­nounced plans on Sun­day to man­age two lux­ury ho­tels and a beach club in Dubai, the casino op­er­a­tor’s first non-gam­ing re­sorts.

The op­er­a­tor of Cae­sars Palace in Las Ve­gas said it signed a non-bind­ing let­ter of in­tent with Dubai’s state-linked Mer­aas Hold­ing to man­age the ho­tels, lo­cated on the Blue­wa­ters Is­land de­vel­op­ment. The Cae­sars­branded re­sorts would fea­ture 479 ho­tel rooms and 12 restau­rants and bars. (RTRS)

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