Concert Review: Queen B + Bibi

I spent the past weekend indulging in music. I spontaneously decided to check out Beyoncé’s Formation tour in Santa Clara, as I was lucky enough to snag a floor seat for a phenomenal price.

While the journey to Santa Clara from SF is one I would prefer not to make, the musical journey Beyoncé took me on Saturday night made the trek worth it.

I had never previously seen Beyoncé perform live, though I’ve seen many of her extended tv performances and listened to her music since she was a member of Destiny’s Child, but I decided that it was time to change that.

Her set list took the audience on a voyage, cleverly using a giant rotating square shaped video display as a visual transition through Formation.

Kicking things off with the tour’s namesake, everyone was dazzled from the onset. I was particularly blown away by the visceral visuals and the bombastic sound. The production was excellent. An absolute spectacle.

Once we were all in “Formation”, Beyoncé danced her way through “Sorry”, “Irreplaceable”, “Bow Dow” and “Run the World”. Costume change? Yes, please. I believe there were 6 in total. From female onesies to long fur coats, thigh high boots, sparkling bodices, and red leather. There was no detail too small to overlook.

The next couple of hours seemed to be hit after hit, one could simply not sit. “Baby Boy”, “Ring the Alarm”, “Diva”, “Flawless”, “Feeling Myself”exactly how many hits does Bey have?!

“Drunk in Love”, “Partition”, a lovely Prince tribute, “Crazy in Love”, “Bootylicious”, “Naughty Girl”, “Party”…it was a carefully crafted and conceptualized show.

Beyoncé and her troupe of dancers executed with precision in perfect harmony. From dancing in doll boxes to a pool of water what else could they possibly do? Fireworks, trapeze arts, confetti and intimate moments with the Beyhive.

I haven’t been able to listen to Beyoncé since. Mostly out of respect and awe.

Sunday night I had a ticket to a very different musical experience. Bibi Bourelly, who is mostly known for co-writing Rihanna’s hit song “Bitch Better Have my Money”, performed at the very intimate Rickshaw Stop in SF. Less than 70 people braved the Sunday night heat to watch the show. The velvet curtain walls seemed to pulse and breathe making the venue feel as if it was alive.

Bibi’s band alone made the night worth it, but her voice was the icing on the cake. She has been compared to the likes of a young Amy Winehouse, for whom she sang “Valerie” in tribute of what would have been Winehouse’s 32nd birthday. She nailed it. She needs little more than a microphone and band and I hope it stays that way.

She performed a few songs that she has already released, “Ego”, “Sally”, “Riot”, “Perfect” and her latest release “Ballin’”. Her songs, many which she exclaimed were about bad encounters or relationships with men, make use of her vocal range and she sings them with powerful force.

While she used a particular profanity, (n-word), that I am not a huge fan of veryyyyyy frequently, I generally enjoyed her performance. She hasn’t much material out so it was just over an hour of performance time but she made sure to make the most of it easily winning over the crowd.

Perhaps what was most inspiring about this weekend of music, was seeing these two women at different perhaps even opposite stages in their careers, both pursuing what they love.

Beyoncé made it a point to thank everyone multiple times for supporting her for the 20 years that she has been in the industry. She then commented on how grateful she was that she could do what she loves as her job and be supported. It struck me that even as a millionaire she was so humble about her success. A lesson for any young aspiring singer or woman. Bibi followed suit thanking attendees for their support in the early stages of what is likely to be a long and successful career.

I began this week thinking what a profound impact music can have on us all. The power to bring people together from all walks of life, a shared experience. How humans have come to express themselves through song and music fascinates me. One can only hope that it continues to unite people as we evolve as a species.