Who wants that perfect love story anyway?
This may be the first line in Beyonce and Jay-Zs first-ever collaboration – 03 Bonnie and Clyde released in 2002 – but it may as well have been the theme of On The Run II, which is being billed as a celebration of love, family and culture.
When the Carters first announced that they were resurrecting their 2014 joint tour, many members of the Beyhive wondered how it could top the first one and why on earth Beyonce would be bringing her husband (who social media branded a support act) on tour with her.
It is fair to say that On the Run II is a lot more intriguing than On the Run I must have been, because of the dramatic, and very public, narrative their usually private marriage has taken over the last four years.
The Queen and her husband arrived at the Olympic Park Stadium in Stratford, London on a warm Friday night, descending down to their waiting subjects via a lift – in a blatant nod to the infamous 2014 Met Ball elevator incident where Solange, Beys sister, attacked Jay Z as the Formation singer watched on.
Since then, Beyonce released the jaw-dropping visual album Lemonade, exposing Jay-Z for his cheating ways, and the rapper dropped 4:44, confirming the infidelity rumours while asking for forgiveness.
If seething members of the Beyhive need a final push to follow their Queen Bee into accepting Jay back, On the Run would be it, as the pair put up a united front during their effortless duets.
When one holds the stage on their own, the other does a costume change – although Jay changed almost twice as much as his self-professed diva wife.
When they take a break for a brief interlude, the stage stays busy with never seen before footage of their marriage and home videos of their daughter Blue Ivy and one-year-old twins Rumi and Sir played out. Intimate clips of the couple in bed play for a cheering crowd, who were also gifted with an altar scene where Bey and Jay appear to renew their vows.
Operation forgive Jay may have worked as their chemistry is convincing, but it may not have stopped the hurt and loyal members of the Hive from referring to On The Run II as a Beyonce concert – because there was no question who this show belonged to.
The rapper was at his most relaxed and happiest in Beyonces presence and even turned to the audience to call her the greatest performer on earth, eliminating himself from the running for the top spot.
When Beyonce performed on her own, it was easy to forget that her husband of 10 years was in the stadium and when Jay gave it his all – as one of hip hops finest – the satisfying aftertaste of Beyonces last performed note lingered on, leaving fans itching for more.
Jays N***** in Paris, 99 Problems and Dirt Off Your Shoulders had the crowd going wild – especially as he wheeled up the track – but some of his lesser known chart hits (On To The Next One, The Story Of OJ) left dedicated Beyonce fans looking a bit lost in the crowd.
Some of their best-loved hits are obviously absent from the set list – think Single Ladies and Halo for Beyonce and Empire State of Mind for Jay – but it only highlights the grandeur of their combined catalogue.
On The Run II is more heartfelt and personal than Beyonces politically charged Formation World Tour (2016) and Jays Magna Carter World Tour (2013 – 2014) but thats okay because the objective has been met.
This tour has successfully sold a story that their marriage is now healed and Becky with the good hair has been put behind them.
Having said that, both of them managed to step away from narrating their everyday love story to pay mind to their own individuality.
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Beyonce briefly greeted the men of the audience to focus on the ladies and deliver snippets of her Coachella 2018 feminist chant for Sorry before Jay Z delivered the critically acclaimed The Story Of OJ.
But to top it all off, the moments where they were performing to each other, seemingly unaware of the stadium crowd, brought us back to why this tour was happening in the first place – to prove that there is no duo greater than Mr and Mrs Carter.
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