This is Real Life & Love: Beyonce & Jay Z’s On the Run Performance

July 15, 2014  |  

Girls love Beyonce…

Beyonce and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour came through the New York area this past weekend. While man law says I am not a huge Beyonce fan, my girlfriend breaks into a song lyric or two almost every time we speak. So, I surprised her with floor seats thinking she’d have a great time singing along to all of these songs (and I may know half of them). I’d get to hear Jay Z do the hits and everyone is happy.

The show wasn’t what I expected at all. I saw the trailer that was released a couple of months ago, I had an idea of what songs the power couple would perform, I’d seen pictures and fifteen second videos on Instagram of Bey clad in a black and white wedding dress as the finale. However, none of this gave away what the show was really about.

As a writer, I appreciate a good story. That’s what On the Run did.

Beyonce and Jay Z have been strategically private about their relationship and have slowly let the world get little glimpses into their life. Over the last twelve years, a look Jay would give Bey onstage slowly evolved into music videos of the two gallivanting while drunkenly boo-loving on a beach about being “Drunk In Love.”

The concert began by stating “This isn’t real life,” juxtaposing a gun toting Beyonce and Jay Z as outlaws and the fantasy that they play into in right resolution cameras looking movie-esque. You know, kinda like what all of the memes of the two canoodling court-side at Nets games suggest… making everyone play into the fantasy of  desiring the kind of love they posses.

It was reminiscent of how the beginning of relationships really are. The “03 Bonnie and Clyde,” “Crazy In Love,” and “Upgrade U” is how everyone typically feels in the beginning of relationships. Life is but a dream and we see the world through rose-colored lenses because it’s new and exciting. Their individual hits suggested that the two were individuals who slowly became one. They’d even be onstage by themselves during these moments going back and forth cramming as many of their hits into the set as possible. Relationships in fact do evolve this way as two people come together.

We’ve known for a long time about Jay and B’s chemistry. Their songs together are the proof and we’ve seen them goof off like they’re having a great time. What made the concert something else was that they were affectionate. Hov put his arm over his wife’s shoulder and kissed her on the neck, he playfully smacked her on her bottom, and may have low-key given her “girls” a little play while rapping “you’re breasts are my breakfasts.” Women ate that up and as a guy I found it to be endearing because I like to do things like that too when I’m in a relationship. It was nice to see a nonchalant guy be crazy about his girl. I related.

Beyonce has all but made a career on making songs about heartbreak. That’s something that’s a part of every relationship. Glossy video vignettes became an interlude of missed voicemails with Bey leaving a message saying “I’m scared you’re gonna break your heart.” That’s a general fear that everyone feels. She sang “If I Were a Boy” followed by Lauryn Hill’s “Ex Factor,” in which the lyrics “cry for me” morphed into Jay Z rapping about losing someone in “Song Cry.” All of the women in the audience – including the one to my right – emoted to rectifying the loss of a lover who lied to them during “Resentment.”

Personally, I felt like Jay Z’s verse about Beyonce in “Lost Ones” would’ve fit within this segment, but I understand avoiding most of Kingdom Come like the plague. Nonetheless, after the fantasy is over there is and will be heartbreak.

After running through some of the big hits that got the other 10% of the crowd on their feet. Jay Z came out in all white and Beyonce in the black and white wedding dress.

They performed “On the Run” while facing each other in front of the crowd who ultimately gathered there to celebrate the love of these two individuals. Well played. As “Forever Young” began, another video vignette played. This time it wasn’t high definition or scripted.

It was videos of the two and their everyday life. Jay giving a kiss to their daughter, getting the IV tattooed on their ring fingers, them exchanging vows in 2008 as Jigga grinned ear to ear, etc.

The last words on the screen said “This is real life.” Real life was the day-to-day things. That’s what makes a relationship great. While they may be quite wealthy, they started off no different than the girl I came with and me.

The credits ran, Jay and B were gone, and the last song to play was “Liftoff.” They went off to live happily ever after like even the most cynical person hopes to one day. Well played.

When it was all said and done, I thought about the girl I took to see the show. I’m often told what a stoic person than I can be. I didn’t feel like being that by the end of the night. On the way back to New York from Metlife Stadium I held her just a little closer than normal. What I’d learned from all of these Beyonce songs is that this is probably all that she really wants – to get a little closer.

The spoilers in this still make the show worth catching if you can. If not, it will be airing on HBO in September.

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