One has to wonder if all the fuss about Beyoncé and Jay Z’s rumored separation is just one more staged act of the couple’s cinematic and highly scripted On The Run tour, in San Francisco on Tuesday for the first of two shows at AT&T Park.
With reports that the tour will bank $100 million on ticket sales barely muting rumors of divorce just hours before they hit the stage at AT&T Park, it’s well within their means to drum up a little scandal to keep them in the headlines and tickets sales moving (all press is good press, no?).
Drama aside, it’s doubtful many people at the nearly sold out show left unhappy on Tuesday.
The husband-and-wife duo stuck to the script with little deviation from the first 17 shows of the On the Run Tour—a Bonnie and Clyde theme weaved between nearly 40 songs during a 2.5 hour performance.
Jay Z, more than 10 years Beyoncé’s senior with a deeper catalog, literally kept the stadium bouncing (a bit problematic for more timid and overly tipsy fans on the Club Level second deck) with a collection of his biggest hits.
While the Giants are on the road with their stadium on lend, he covered the bases (forgive the pun) from his 1998 breakout “Hard Knock Life” to last year’s “Holy Grail.” With Beyoncé filling in for Justin Timberlake on the latter, the live version was even better than the album cut.
The best transition of the night arrived early: Jay Z solo on the mic for “Jigga My Nigga” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” before disappearing for a few minutes while Beyoncé and her dancers hit the stage with little more than some lace and a thong for a dance number. Jay Z returned by himself for “Big Pimpin,’” rapping the late Pimp C’s part a cappella.
Later in the night he followed “Izzo” with an unexpected tribute to Too Short, rapping the first verse of “Blow the Whistle” and asking security to ease up on the crowd—obviously excited—dancing in the aisles. Local tweets claimed the music could be heard from as far as the Haight out by Kezar.
Beyoncé kept the pace with girl power hits, a few ballads and a stage show that, per usual, upstaged her music. She’s as amazing live from 500 feet away from the stage at the ballpark as online or anywhere else. She says flawless. It’s hard to disagree.
That’s not to say there weren’t lulls in the night. Several video segments made the show drag at times. And with numerous reports of Beyoncé in near tears during her song “Resentment” at previous shows—complete with a wedding dress and perfectly timed teary-eyed closeups of her face on the 40-foot projectors—it was hard to ignore the the whiff of Hollywood theatrics paired with the recent cottage industry built on tabloid rumors.
It’s all part of the show, and there’s even fresh popcorn waiting for willing customers at the ballpark’s concession stands.
Photos from the show (Photo by Mason Poole/Parkwood Entertainment/PictureGroup):