It is the good battle of our time: each Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are on tour.
The fights between the Bey Hive and Swifties on Twitter would make you imagine there is a battle between these two artists. However really, it’s extremely straightforward to be a fan of each — take it from me!
I used to be fortunate sufficient to snag tickets to each Swift’s Eras Tour and Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour this 12 months. So enable me to settle this battle.
Each concert events had been memorable and I like each artists, nevertheless it‘s clear: Queen Bey nonetheless reigns.
The Renaissance present was electrical, a once-in-a-lifetime occasion that includes a cultured set record and classy manufacturing that by no means misplaced momentum.
That is to not say the Eras Tour wasn’t implausible — its epic scale actually introduced me to my knees — however seeing the Renaissance World Tour was way more worthwhile.
Swift’s Eras Tour was a real greatest-hits present
I noticed Swift at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, in late Could and was blown away by her efficiency. Earlier than you ask: No, I did not attend considered one of Swift’s famously beloved rain reveals. I used to be on the third and remaining Eras efficiency at Gillette, and fortunately stayed dry.
I sat only a few rows off the stadium ground, shut sufficient to see Swift with out squinting however nonetheless at a distance to see the complete stage. Regardless of the Ticketmaster fiasco, I felt like I had secured good seats and someway managed to not break the financial institution.
The present was an expansive three-hour journey by way of Swift’s discography, a powerful try to cowl her complete profession.
Swift traced her nation roots with “Fearless” earlier than digging into the electropop of “Status” and her newest pop endeavor, “Midnights.” Each album — besides Swift’s debut, which is unfortunately absent from the setlist — received a second to shine.
However Eras felt too large for its personal good
There isn’t any denying that Swift has the hits — even my grandmother hums “Shake It Off” when she hears it on the radio.
However with a three-hour live performance and two opening acts, time was treasured. The set record had an ebb and stream of types, like Swift was attempting to undergo her catalog by contrasting slower, stripped-back songs together with her large pop anthems. This simply did not work for me, leading to extra of a mishmash than a cohesive work.
Some eras, significantly “Evermore” and “Midnights,” had been too lengthy and rapidly wore out their welcome. Others, reminiscent of “Folklore,” got here at awkward occasions within the live performance after I wasn’t certain if I needed to take a seat down for a bit or make a fast toilet break. Even “Crimson,” my favourite, hit a roadblock with the 10-minute model of “All Too Properly.” That track is simply too lengthy!
There have been related lulls within the manufacturing and live performance visuals. It was whiplash to go from intimate singer-songwriter Swift sitting alone at her piano to pop-diva Swift strutting round together with her backup dancers.
Possibly it is a tall order for Swift to even discover her discography like this within the first place — for an artist that is made music in so many various genres, one large live performance showcasing all of them is certain to have its stumbles infrequently.
Beyoncé additionally introduced the warmth.
I noticed Beyoncé on the historic Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, in early June. The ground of the stadium was common admission, and I actually loved standing there packed round different followers.
I by no means as soon as wished I had gotten a seat up within the stands — when you have the prospect to see Beyoncé generally admission, you are taking it.
The 2-and-a-half hour present began with Beyoncé belting a few of her ballads, “Dangerously In Love,” “Flaws And All,” and “1 + 1.”
She additionally carried out “River Deep, Mountain Excessive” in tribute to the late Tina Turner; there wasn’t a dry eye within the stadium.
After just a few songs, Bey transitioned into “Renaissance,” starting with “I am That Woman.” Most songs off the album received time to shine. Notably absent from the set, although, had been “Thique” and “All Up in Your Thoughts” — two private favorites of mine, however I forgive Bey for not together with them.
Renaissance was a curated showcase of pleasure and artwork, with robust themes and visuals
Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour by no means misplaced momentum. Any interlude or break within the setlist was stuffed with spectacular dancers or teases for these long-awaited “Renaissance” visuals.
The power was excessive the complete present, leaving little time for anybody to guess what she’d carry out subsequent. That is to not say that Bey did not gradual issues down. She sang a stirring rendition of “Plastic Off the Couch” earlier than switching to the dizzying disco of “Virgo’s Groove,” however I by no means felt like there was a lull the complete efficiency.
A part of that could be Beyoncé’s presence. It was inconceivable to maintain my eyes off her. She danced full-out, hit each notice, and dominated the stage with only a hair flip. She gave it her all even when she was simply mendacity down in a large clam shell.
And whereas Beyoncé has actually amassed many hits all through her decades-long profession, she made certain to tighten the main focus of this live performance on her most up-to-date album. Some older favorites, reminiscent of “Freakum Costume,” solely received a snippet of airtime, nevertheless it was nonetheless sufficient to ship followers right into a frenzy.
That differs closely from my expertise with the Eras Tour, the place I typically could not watch for songs to finish. On the Renaissance World Tour, I needed extra.
Renaissance felt like a celebration with everybody within the viewers
The Renaissance World Tour additionally celebrated the LGBTQ+ neighborhood and ballroom tradition in a method I might by no means seen throughout a live performance from a significant music artist earlier than.
That made the present really feel greater than Beyoncé — quite than specializing in her biggest hits or largest music, the live performance was a celebratory expertise.
Whereas I waited for the present to start, the stage’s graphic shows the Progress Pleasure Flag, signaling to attendees that this present is a protected house for the complete LGBTQ+ neighborhood. Ballroom tradition was entrance and middle the complete live performance, culminating in a remaining voguing sequence between all of Beyoncé’s dancers.
And after the present ended, an image of Uncle Johnny — Beyoncé’s late homosexual uncle to whom she’s devoted “Renaissance” — appeared, seemingly ending the live performance by exhibiting the person who impressed Beyoncé’s love and appreciation for the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. It was a touching second that introduced every part full circle.
I am glad I noticed each Swift and Beyoncé whereas they embark on their juggernaut excursions this 12 months.
However the Renaissance World Tour felt like a defining second due to its curated set record and Beyoncé’s hypnotizing stage presence.
Taylor Swift is pop live performance royalty, little doubt, however there’s nonetheless just one Queen.