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Beyoncé At Coachella, Saturday, April 14th, 2018 Reviewed (Stream It Here)

At around 218am on Sunday morning three hours earlier than that at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, California, Beyoncé the biggest pop star of them all right now,  performed her Coachella headlining set postponed from 2017 when her pregnancy derailed it. Most of the world streamed it then and I spent a lot of Sunday trying to track it down (you’ll find the link at the bottom) and finally located it Monday. Now I’ve seen it twice and ready to add my opinion to, say, Eve Barlow at the Guardian who wrote “(thus begins) a show that is somehow not just about Beyoncé. She makes it about far more than her or her career: it’s about black excellence, female power and the unrelenting possibility of self-belief.” As Jay Z once put it: OK.

If I had been at Coachella… well, if I had been at Coachella standing among all those people straining for a glimpse of the Queen Bey, the way I was at Roseland, I would have hated it. But If I had a decent seat, and Bey  was only 18 minutes late (which she was, of course), I might agree with all these glowing assessments. I am a huge Beyoncé fan , I’ve loved all her solo work, the whole lot, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the times I’ve seen her except for the Roseland gig and that wasn’t her fault, even Citi Field where I froze to death.

My problem with the greatest show on earth is that:

1 – With the exception of the marching band it isn’t much better than her Lemonade tour.

2 – The multi media hey diddle diddle isn’t my scene, I am about the music.

3 – The music was fine, the show was mesmerizing, but is it any better choreographed or presented than, say, “Frozen” on Broadway?

For all my pleasure in the show, the regimented strong black woman uber alles, plus Hov and her Destiny Child joining her for a career spanning smack down, I wasn’t insane about it musically. where was “1+1”? Where was “Superpower”? For God’s sake, where was “Irreplaceable”. The music stands up so well, but this all dancing, all marching extravaganza -like her Super Bowl set on steroids, or that Global Citizen set, she won’t just stand there and sing. It’s obfuscation. The implication is that the reason we care is not the reason we care, It’s trying to be this huge thing and that isn’t what is it: the size is in the music not the marching band.

I am not claiming for one moment that this is a bad set, it is a good one. But a great one? My ears picked up during “Hold On” because I am sodded if I can pick out any other melody lines. It’s all rhythmic crunch, coordinated side hustle, dancing prancing, making flippy floppy groove. Not for nothing, but where is the band? A huge stage and I’m damned if I can see em…  This is what 2018 demands but 2018 should relax itself and so should Beyoncé, let the music speak for itself.


“Crazy In Love”
“Lift Every Voice and Sing”
“Bow Down”
“Drunk In Love”
“Don’t Hurt Yourself”
“I Care”
“Mi Gente”
“Baby Boy”
“Hold Up”
“Check On It”
“Déjà Vu” featuring Jay-Z
“Run The World (Girls)”
“Lose My Breath” with Destiny’s Child
“Say My Name” with Destiny’s Child
“Soldier” with Destiny’s Child
“Get Me Bodied”
“Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”
“Love On Top”

Grade: B+

1 Comment

  1. Clare on April 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you! This is the first review I’ve seen that I agree with!

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