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Gig review: Beyonce needs a freshening up


Beyonce. Photo: Getty Images

Beyonce. Photo: Getty Images

Beyonce. Photo: Getty Images

"EMBRACE your past, but live for now." That's what the pre-show Pepsi ad says. The one where Beyonce dances with her reflection.

How ironic, then, that The Mrs Carter Tour should arrive in town without a new album to seal the deal. Beyonce is, indeed, embracing her past; rolling out another shiny, effects-laden masterclass in booty-shaking, R&B-sprinkled pop.

We don't expect Queen B to reinvent the wheel. But this is nothing we haven't already seen. Similarly, you wouldn't imagine Mrs Carter (she's now trading under her husband Jay-Z's name) would be one to blend in.

Yet, during Run The World (Girls), that's exactly what happens. With the dancers and the all-female band, there must be at least two dozen women on stage.

At times, the only thing separating Beyonce from her entourage is a pesky wind machine that seems to follow this performer's every move.

Not that she doesn't look a billion dollars. Whether flaunting a leggy, leather get-up or an extremely flattering catsuit, the 31-year-old Texan is as much a style icon as she is a leading figure of scintillating chart pop. For about an hour, she seems to forget which is more important.

At least she's energetic, floating somewhere between the genuine (for once, the 'ole' chant is endearing) and the plastic (no Beyonce, you do not recognise a few familiar faces in the crowd).



Eventually, we get around to business, The Mrs Carter Tour leaving every gem in the catalogue right until the end. In the space of 20 minutes, we're hit with Irreplaceable, the sublime Love On Top and the phenomenal Single Ladies. There's even a delightful throwback to her Destiny's Child days. A vocally stunning performance, it's the kick this gig needed.

Elsewhere, Beyonce sings Whitney, dances like Michael and reminds us of why some singers should never tinker with simplicity (If I Were A Boy is rejigged to include The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony . . . it doesn't work).

Essentially a collection of reruns of the Beyonce Live Experience, this two-hour display of pop's undisputed champion getting her groove on is still a worthy addition to the vault. It might be better to try something new next time, though, and leave the looking back until she at least starts to age.