BEYONCÃ‰ recently topped Forbesâ€™ list of the richest stars under 30, but she clearly is not hoarding the money: A ton of it must have been spent on her latest spectacle of a tour.
Despite the title of her latest album, I Am … Sasha Fierce, nothing was fierce at all. Warm and fuzzy? Sure. Over the top? You couldâ€™ve bet on that because itâ€™s the nature of pop tours these days.
But what made her truly connect with Barcelona fans wasnâ€™t the gimmicks â€” confetti raining down during her horn-blasted, opening retro-soul strut of Crazy in Love, or high-tech movable stage parts and loads of costume changes: It was the music and the way it was delivered that counted the most as she interacted with her band and fans. Many so-called divas and such could learn something here. Are you listening, Madonna?
The two-hour-plus show offered BeyoncÃ©s far-ranging styles, from pop and R&B to hip-hop, reggaeton, electronic and dance.
She also dipped into songs by others â€” though they were more tease than covers, linked to her own songs. She cooed through a bit of Donna Summerâ€™s Love to Love You Baby, Sarah McLachlanâ€™s winsome Angel and took a quick tear through part of Alanis Morissetteâ€™s You Oughta Know.
She proved adept at each, and itâ€™s a shame she didnâ€™t just go for the complete numbers. But Ave Maria, sung while dancers assembled a wedding dress on her, didnâ€™t work at all.
When the crowd cheered, screamed and roared early on in the show, she stopped to beam with a genuine smile. This was a far cry from the BeyoncÃ© of some years whose ego appeared to walk ahead of her. But sheâ€™s grown up â€” musically and as a performer. So while â€œflyingâ€ across the top of the arena in a harness to a small stage in the middle of the floor was a slice of Cirque du Tinkerbell, what followed contained much more emotion, as fans sang her hit Irreplaceable before she took over.
For the most heated material, she was Tina, the Next Generation, and some ballads found her in a Streisand mode, down to her phrasing. Sheâ€™s become a much better vocalist, thanks in part to taking on such projects as playing Etta James in the film Cadillac Records and appearing in the film adaptation of Broadwayâ€™s Dreamgirls, both of which played a part in the nightâ€™s diversity.