Last Night: Beyonce at American Airlines Center

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American Airlines Center
July 5, 2009

Better than: Filming my own Youtube version of "Single Ladies."

Dallas was lucky to have Beyonce stop by last night on her international "I Am" tour de force.

From start to finish, the show was phenomenal: Not only was it a showcase of her powerful, flawless voice, but it was an amazingly well-executed performance, too. The show panned out like a series of vignettes, each one a song accompanied by dancing, spectacular light shows, and stunning costumes.

And Beyonce carried the show with a badass, sexy attitude and energy that had the crowd screaming: She sang her heart out and, when she danced, the girl got down (literally).

There were some unique highlights of the show, but most impressive was the manipulation of the light to create visual effects. When Beyonce first appeared on stage, it looked like she was entering through open doors that exposed a far-off space flooded with light and clouds. Another time, she was elevated against a moving image of ocean water, its surface rippling with a beam of light, her body positioned in the ray as if she was the source of it.For a few songs, the stage was washed out with color so that the band and dancers looked like black, silhouetted figures moving on a neon screen.

She performed many of her solos, including "Crazy in Love," "If I Were a Boy," "Diva," "Irreplacable," "Single Ladies" (before which they showed a slew of dancing imitators on YouTube videos wearing the music video's black leotard) and her new hit with Kanye West, "Ego." And there was a part of the concert when she sang to Destiny's Child hits--"Jumpin" "Survivor," "Say My Name," and "Bootylicious" among them.

As clips from her performance in DreamGirls played on the screen, she sang a few songs from that movie, too.

Her band and back-up singers, Beyonce noted to the crowd, were all-female. Many of them had opportunities to do solos themselves, during which their personalities really came through and added another dimension to the chemistry on stage. At one point, the back-up singers, who were gloriously voluptuous, came out from behind their microphone stands and spoke to the audience. Between intervals of song, they called out to a few men in the audience who caught their eye, characterizing them as "chocolate cocktails." The women on instruments were equally striking and carried themselves with the intensity and hardcore femininity that is trademark of Beyonce.

At the tail end of the performance, she showed a clip of herself as a child getting ready to go to her first Michael Jackson concert. She then displayed a photo of him and explained that he was the inspiration for her career.

To the tune of "Halo," she sang, "Michael, I can feel your halo, I pray it won't fade way." A memorable tribute to end a memorable night.

Critic's Notebook
Random Note:
 Beyonce wore her characteristic leotards in varied styles for most of the show, giving the arena a 2-hour opportunity to become familiar with her lustrous, diva thighs.

By the Way: She sang "Ave Maria"...and "Happy Birthday"...?

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