Beyonce & Jay Z - MetLife Stadium - 7/11/14
Courtesy Parkwood Entertainment
Better Than: Most of Jay Z's other collaborative tours.
It's difficult to believe power couple Beyonce and Jay Z have never toured together before. Their solo albums are hardly without a guest appearance from the other, and in their hometowns it's usually a given one will show up in support of the other. The timing of this particular collaboration is perfect, coming the summer after Jay joined Justin Timberlake on a stadium take-over of their own and Yonce embarked on her massive 'Mrs. Carter World Tour' and dropped her surprise self-titled album in time for everyone's year-end lists. Separate, they are empires never needing the other's name to validate their endeavors in both business and art, so why wouldn't they continue their world domination together?
The pair are attune to many of the facets of being successful, including what makes a hit and how to stay on the tips of everyone's tongues. With great success comes life under a great microscope, and as a couple much of their relationship has remained blissfully private and in the realm of speculation rather than reality. Only in the past year or so has a crack been revealed, an entrance for people to examine the realities and rumors of what it's like to be a couple as successful and oft-cited as they are. The crack was pushed wider by Beyonce's most personal lyrics to date on her most recent album. And possibly their biggest and most tangible scandal as a couple involved leaked and grossly invasive surveillance footage of a fight between Jay and Bey's sister Solange in an elevator. As much as we love to admire success and perfection, we may collectively find pleasure in the ruins of both even more.
Prior to the tour, those who cared were left with speculation and a desire for answers to questions they never needed to ask. Being the cryptic pair that they are, Bey and Jay have used their joint tour to turn this all on us and fuel the speculation by playing out on stage a fictional Bonnie and Clyde romance that blurs the lines between a fantasy world and reality. This was teased with the star-studded tour trailer released in May that features the couple acting out every trope of gangster movies and over-the-top cinematic romances. Though it ends with "Coming Never," the film is brought to life on stage, with clips strewn throughout the performance and their songs are very precisely chosen to weave together a narrative told from both sides. The story on stage begins with "This is not real life" plastered in the background and ends with "This is real life," and in between we can choose to categorize or just go along with the ride.