It’s no big statement to say that Beyonce and Jay-Z haven’t seemed quite like the united front they once were for quite some time. In 2016′, ‘Lemonade’ saw Beyonce directly tackling Jay-Z’s apparent infidelities, while 2017’s ‘4:44’ seemed like his attempt at a musical love-letter to his wronged wife.
Given these rocky circumstances, the first night of the OTR II tour in Cardiff seems even more impressive – it’s a two hour masterclass from a pair of icons who are seemingly hell-bent on proving that love conquers all. From the opening bars of ‘Holy Grail’ in Cardiff, there’s no sign whatsoever of acrimony – with the pair holding hands and gazing lovingly at each other throughout Jay-Z’s 2013 track.
It then segues straight into ‘Part II (On the Run)’, which is followed by one of many video clips of the pair throughout the show. In the early offering, we see the couple assuming their Bonnie & Clyde-esque outlaw phase once more, before it’s followed by the very song in question.
Other clips show show the pair lying in bed together and relaxing with their children in exotic Caribbean climes – but it’s done in a way that seems remarkably genuine.
The same can be said for their performance too.
There’s a huge variety throughout the powerful setlist, whether it’s the unbridled might of Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’, a rousing feminist call-to-arms, or a stadium-stunning rendition of ‘Resentment’, Beyonce’s strongest vocal moment of the entire evening.
Jay-Z , equally, is on top of his game throughout the show – blending the crowd-pleasing indulgence of ’99 problems’ with the political fury of newer cuts including ‘The Story of O.J’.
#OTRII A spectacular two and a half hour stadium show from #Beyoncé & #JayZ in Cardiff last night A stylish, cinematic blockbuster of a show that delivers sensory overload from start to finish. Unmissable. #OTRTour ??????? pic.twitter.com/GCGMm2l5ok
— Kevin Hughes (@Popprince) June 7, 2018
Production wise, it’s a masterclass in how to put on a stadium show.
A backing band spread out across a three-tier stage give the appearance of a small musical army, while an elevated moving platform means that the thrills are equally spilled for the fans in the cheaper seats.
And as the night nears its close, the doubters are definitively silenced with a surprisingly moving clip that sees the pair renewing their vows.
All considered, it’s a total triumph – and the perfect indication that things will only get bigger and better as the world tour of juggernaut proportions goes on.