All hail the queen and king: Beyoncé and Jay-Z close On the Run II tour with blazing Seattle mic drop

Beyoncé and Jay-Z close On the Run II tour with blazing Seattle mic drop

As Beyoncé assumed complete command of her stage, the music stopped. With every single movement made by their queen—clad in a shimmering bronze catsuit—as she silently observed the tens of thousands of her devoted people, sections of the crowded CenturyLink Field erupted on cue.

As she launched into “Sorry,” a love-spurned march that sends an unfaithful lover (i.e., Jay-Z) to the gallows, a stadium full of yelling fans appeared to tremble with every blow of her matching stilettos.

Beyonce and Jay-Z perform during the final night of their On the Run II tour at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field on Oct. 4, 2018. (Raven Varona / Parkwood / PictureGroup)

Such is the power of one of the greatest performers of her generation, who is finishing up a three-album, two-megatour pop opera with this year’s On the Run II tour, alongside her husband and hip-hop icon Jay-Z. Jay and Beyoncé seized charge of their story, incorporating personal details of their relationship into the most ambitious and, in Beyoncé’s case, revolutionary art of their careers, as their apparent infidelity became tabloid fodder. The tour’s final stop in Seattle on Thursday was a 2.5-hour mic drop with fusillading fire cannons and enough wardrobe changes for a lifetime of award shows, assuming OTR II was the pinnacle of this love story.

Beyonce and Jay-Z perform during the final night of their On the Run II tour at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field on Oct. 4, 2018. (Raven Varona / Parkwood / PictureGroup)

An enormous screen displayed the words “This is real life” as Beyoncé and Jay-Z took the stage, an exhausting hour and a half after the openers. A brief yet outstanding set of smooth electro-R&B songs and upbeat pop hits was concluded by Chloe x Halle. The remainder of the evening seemed like a tour de force, intent on proving to their head-nodding fans that all is OK in the royal couple’s throne room of pop music.

Beyonce performs during the final night of her and Jay-Z’s On the Run II tour at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field on Oct. 4, 2018. (Raven Varona / Parkwood / PictureGroup)

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With the couple taking turns to dominate the stage both individually and together, the set list had the  feel of the greatest Beyoncé mixtape ever, highlighting their different performance styles. In hits like the thunderous “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” (which is still relevant 15 years later, even though its Rocawear hoodie still sports a timestamp on the sleeve) and the poignant “Song Cry,” Jay made it clear that he is one of the few one-man, one-mic rappers who can effortlessly captivate an arena (or, with his wife’s assistance, a stadium). This was particularly evident during the eerie “The Story of O.J.”, the heartfelt Grammy-nominated ballad from “4:44” the previous year.

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On the other hand, Beyoncé takes the stage with a stomping dance troop and an umpteen-piece supporting band, and she looks like the unquestionable squad commander. While Jay’s vocal occasionally struggled to stay up with the fast-paced band, hers effortlessly rose above their squall during a mashup of “Ring the Alarm” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself.”

She snarled during the latter, slinging four-letter insults like daggers at a picture of Jay that was affixed to a $15,000 armoire. “Keep your money, I got my own!” she exclaimed.

With the exception of a particularly cunning rendition of “’03 Bonnie and Clyde” and the migos-assisted hit “Ape[expletive],” which felt like a celebration of their marriage’s survival, their onstage moments rarely matched the intensity of their solo performances. It makes sense given that their individual catalogs’ biggest successes are unrelated to one another, but sound problems also didn’t help them. The couple’s vocals were truncated during a dutifully turned rendition of “Drunk in Love” and “Black Effect,” a hit from their new joint album “Everything is Love,” when they kept cutting out, at least for part of the stadium.

The staging of the tour was not as lavish as that of Taylor Swift, but it nonetheless had a subtle impact thanks to a tri-level platform for the band that opened out from a large video screen and a moving auxiliary stage that raised Jay and Bey above the audience between their own catwalks. The reconciling vibes between movements were conveyed through art-film love-noir sequences and home-video-style family footage, which were braided with subtexts of racial inequity and female empowerment.

Despite all the drama, the most basic moment was one of the most unforgettable. Beyoncé, wearing a flowing wedding-white gown, broke down in tears during the runway show with her soul-baring performance of “Resentment.” Her soft falsetto filled the stadium and left us wondering if love could really triumph over side chicks. Though it was a little overdone, their combined finale, which featured a dreamy rendition of “Forever Young,” was supposed to demonstrate that it has, capping the power couple’s romantic journey with a victorious, second-honeymoon-style conclusion.

We all praise the king and queen.

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