TV Review: On The Run Tour: Beyonce and Jay Z (2014)

Posted: September 27, 2014 in Music, TV

jay z beyonce on the run

Rapper Jay-Z and Wife R & B Superstar Beyonce collaborate on a tour in Paris, France.

There were many songs I recognized in this concert, and many songs I didn’t.  I must be honest, I’m not much of a Jay Z or Beyonce fan.  Jay Z started with “Me And My Girlfriend” and brought Mya on stage.  (joking)  “Crazy In Love” was another song I recognized from Beyonce, and it was a pretty good rendition.  Jay Z did “I  Just Wanna Love You.  The best part of that song is the falsetto by Pharell Williams of “Happy” fame. But then we get into self-absorbed territory.  Jay Z raps Tom Ford, and Tom Ford is a fashion designer, now who on the streets of Brooklyn cares who the hell Tom Ford is?  Beyonce sings “Who Won The World” while scantily clad.  It’s more believable if she’s singing a song about female empowerment if she wasn’t twerking like Miley Cyrus, and cursing like a sailor throughout the concert. “Flawless” Is an anthem to self-absorption.  “I woke up like this.” She declares.  You woke up in full make up and styled hair?  Really?   It didn’t help that the queen of self-promotion, Nikki Manaj made a guest appearance to rap on the song.

Jay Z did more hits like “Jigga What, Jigga Who?” and “Big Pimpin” and Beyonce did “Baby Boy” and then Jay Z took over again and did more of his hits, “No Church in The World” “99 Problems” and H to the Izzo” and by the time Queen Bey and the Jigga Man got to “Hard Knock Life” and “Single Ladies” I was spent and there was still a half hour left in the concert.  The concert was too theatrical, too many dancers, too many set changes and there were pieces of a bad “Bonnie and Clyde”-esque movie playing on a large screen when things got slow.  The movie was embarrassing, this is what happens when stars get so big that no one can say no to them. This concert seemed like a circus at times, with no ringmaster.

Here’s my problem with Jay Z, he’s more of an entrepreneur then he is a rap star.  He was more interested in creating a record label and a clothing line than he was in being a rapper, and that is not good.  It paid off for him, but no one I know thinks he has any integrity as a rapper.  I grew up listening to “The Message” and ”White Lines” by Grandmaster Flash.  That was rap to me.  Jay Z wants to be gangsta, but he can’t be gangsta and sample “Hard Knock Life” (which he now uses to promote the “Annie” remake musical which he is producing)  He’s got his fingers in too many pies, record label, clothing line, producing movies, and pimping his wife.  That’s a lot for one man to do.  All those so called gangsta rappers sold out, Dr. Dre sold Beats Audio to Apple, Ice Cube makes family movies, Ice Tea plays a cop on tv, the selling out was immediate with Jay Z.

Jay Z punctuates every line of his songs with an annoying ‘uh’ that’s not how to fill space in rap songs, you fill space with words.  The only song of Jay Z’s that I like is “99 Problems”, that’s it, that’s all.  Especially annoying is sampling Hard Knock Life from Annie, how anyone could think he was hardcore after that is beyond me.  That sample was just pure commercialism, plain and simple, and he is still praised for using that sample.  For the record Tupac was my favorite rapper, and Kanye West, despite the Kardashian marriage and chronic foot in mouth disease, is my favorite current rapper. And this collaborative effort featured much too much Jay Z, and not enough Beyonce.  He was on stage during most of her songs, and she was not on stage for most of his songs.

But, here’s my problem with Beyonce, she’s a good singer, not a great one. The first singer that blew me away with her range was Minnie Ripperton singing “Loving You.” Beyonce doesn’t have pipes like Minnie Ripperton, or Mariah Carey, or Christina Aguillera, so her father created Destiny’s Child to put the spotlight on Beyonce.  Destiny’s Child was a fiction, Beyonce was more product than singer, to be marketed and sold. And when she discovered she had to share the spotlight with others in a group, her father disbanded Destiny’s Child and Beyonce the solo act was born.  And now she’s being controlled by another man, Jay Z, and she adopts the persona some kind of foul-mouthed gangster’s moll.  I’ve seen this movie before with Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, it doesn’t end well.  I was more turned off than I was turned on by her in-my-face attempts to be a sex symbol, and gutter mouth.  She could have been a really good pop singer, but she chose to be a cross between Madonna and Diana Ross, and neither of those women are worth emulating, in my opinion.

Conspicuously absent from this concert are any songs from Destiny’s Child, I guess she’s a big enough solo act to leave her past behind, but I liked those songs more than I like her current songs, and I liked her more then too.

This concert is far too long, two hours and 40 minutes of a concert, drowning in its own excesses, and finally, mercifully, it came to an end.

On The Run: Ran out of steam long before it should have.

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