Concert Review: Beyonce 'The Mrs Carter Show' Auckland 2013

by - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

currently: listening to more Beyonce.

I need to tell the truth. I'm not the biggest Beyonce fan around, and I at first didn't think about going to her concert. I enjoyed the excitement of her NZ tour announcement, but I felt the price was just way too steep for me. The cheapest/worst view tickets were around $110, while the quality seat prices jumped towards the $260 mark. Could I really spend that much on a ticket?

Well clearly I did get a ticket in the end. I think what made me choose was the idea that Beyonce, one of the most iconic women in pop music today, would put on a stellar concert performance, and if this is the first time she's performed in NZ, who knows how long it will be before the next one. So I agreed to let my friend Emily secure seats for me and some of our friends - about $200 in row DD, seat 556 for Saturday night, Beyonce's fourth and last show in New Zealand this year.

Emily did really well, cause the seats were in a fantastic position right next to the screen and directly to the left of the centre platform. We got to our seats just after 8pm, during Stan Walker's opening set. Even though Stan Walker is becoming more common to see perform in NZ, he was a fitting opening act for Beyonce. A good rep for New Zealand and Beyonce lovers alike.


Looking dapper in a sparkly blazer, Stan belted his hits on the blue lit stage, and even mixed up some classic Crowded House 'Don't Dream It's Over' with Maori verses. Of course, every time Beyonce's name was mentioned, the crowd screamed.

I'm not going to lie but had it been Iggy Azalea opening up for Beyonce - I don't think I would have enjoyed it. To know Stan Walker is a fan of Beyonce, and how humbled and excited he is by it (just check out his Instagram account) makes you feel good for the man. And by the end of his set, people were up on their feet clapping for Stan.

I can't actually remember how long it was between Stan Walker's set and Beyonce's, but the crowd had plenty to be entertained by (or mainly me). Stage crew testing the lights? Crowd cheers. Charity video that features Beyonce appears on the screen? Crowd cheers. The band is moving around behind the screen? Crowd cheers. Having the lights up was also a great time to watch the crowd.

There were so many costumes, sparkles, super short dresses (some too short to cover up their behinds...) and women dedicated to wearing heels at the concert. I was super safe with my outfit - wool short shorts, sheer blouse and studded leather sneakers. But some people went out to try to get Beyonce's attention. My friend Anne-Marie even went out of her way to get her hair done for Beyonce. (Her hair looked fab.)

Just a few minutes after nine p.m, the lights dipped. As the music began to roar through the speakers, so did the crowd (and maybe I did too.)

Opening with a beautifully shot video of an all white coronation, crowning Queen Bey, her 'subjects'/dancers flanked the two sides in matching white leotards. As the music grew, the screen raised, and the subjects parted to let the Queen through, leaving her centre of the stage. Dressed in a gorgeous short white dress, Beyonce leads into 'Run The World (Girls)'. And you know she runs the world.

One woman with a powerful voice, and standing alone on stage commands the presence over a packed Vector Arena. As she moves seamlessly into 'End of Time', her dancers; women who are of different backgrounds, are completely in sync with each other. It's clear that the production has been practiced to perfection, but it doesn't seem like they're bored of it. It's high energy and strong movements all round.

One, or should I say two stand outs from the dancers is of course the only males performing on the stage - the Les Twins. Two identical twins with incredible identical dance skill bring their own personality as sidekicks to Beyonce. They're playful, they're fluid, and they're ridiculously talented.


As the sparks rained down and the lights dimmed, it was time for Beyonce to have a costume change. In between each costume change they would often have a video play, as if to introduce another chapter in Mrs Carter's extraordinary life. As the lights went up again, Beyonce reappeared on stage in a black cat-suit leotard, wearing a large matching cap with kitten ears. She teased us as she got the audience to sing 'If I Were a Boy', rating the audience on their loud singing ability. From the screens, you weren't able to see Beyonce's eyes shadowed by her hat, but you could see her playful smirk. Beyonce may be the entertainment, but it doesn't mean she wasn't being entertained herself.


"This isn't the show for you to sit down... I want you to dance and have a good time." - Beyonce


After speaking to the crowd (Beyonce trying to get some talking done between each scream reply), she moved into her bolder songs, like 'Get Me Bodied', 'Baby Boy' and 'Diva', where she did substitute some singing parts for heavier dance numbers. A friend asked me the other day whether or not I was bothered with her less singing numbers, but to be honest, when you're putting your body through that much movement, less vocals don't matter as much.

What really adds to her show (and Beyonce as an icon of female empowerment) is that her band and backup singers (aka The Mamas) are all female. Drummer is female, saxophone and trumpets are females, and her guitarist (who kinda looks like Slash) is female. Their setup on stage is no short of fantastic.

Also amazing as the performers was the stage itself. Numerous lights, fans pointing from every angle of the stage, smoke, confetti, spark showers, and that massive widescreen display. Usually New Zealanders expect big international acts to have watered down concerts, since it's an expensive mission to bring sets to the country. But if you look at stage photos from Beyonce concerts in Brazil, to America, to UK - it looks to be identical sets. It makes you pretty thankful that a superstar singer has not shorted out on the wow factor that she gave to other audiences around the world.

After another costume change, Beyonce launched into a sexy performance of 'Naughty Girl' in a gorgeous gold leotard. With the rich coloured lights, neon colours and screens reflected a Vegas showgirls performance, backed up by 'The Mamas' singers and dancers holding large feathered fans.

It's also a wonder that these women can dance in such high heels. I can barely walk in heels, let alone dance in them.

One of the most amazing outfits was the dresses in 'Freakum Dress'. With thigh-slit high topical coloured dresses, a jewelled neckline, and material that flies gracefully in the wind, the performance just made you want to strut in a hot dress. But then Beyonce brought Bibi onto the stage, and suddenly it felt like a rock concert.
I don't know how many guitarists have fire and sparks shoot out of their guitars, but I bet any guitarist that does just feels like a badass. Bibi rocked out that guitar solo to screams and cheers, and maybe a bit of headbanging. To say she was just talented is an understatement, and that song just escalated to new heights.

With another costume change (with the 'Freakum Dress' dress only appearing for one song), Beyonce moved on to this cute green leopard print fringed dress, where she stood with attitude in front of her people.
Beyonce doesn't need a staff or scepter, she can just direct her 'BeyHive' with a microphone. With hair flipping everywhere and fringe shaking in all directions, the energy rising from that stage was enormous. But of course, she had time to sit down in front of her loyal subjects, and even cutesied up a pair of mouse ears from someone in the crowd.

The move to the iconic blue/purple jumpsuit meant a change of pace and a call for Beyonce ballads. Beyonce crooned '1+1' on top of a baby grand piano, and the song felt like she was intimately performing to the few and close, keeping those listening slow at breath as we soaked in the song. But of course, for the rest to not feel left out, Beyonce moved on towards her hit 'Irreplaceable', interacting with the crowd and even spotting a stunning singer in the audience to her own amazement.

Beyonce's own look from stunned to astonishment (0:17) pretty much reflected the entire arena. "Wow!" Also, watching Beyonce meet people and spin carelessly on the centre platform of the stage only made you wish you could just touch a magical sequin on her jumpsuit. The chosen ones who made an encounter with her probably haven't washed their hands still.

One of the few letdowns was only catching a snippet of 'Countdown' in the video between Beyonce costume changes. But disappointment only lasted for a second before Beyonce came back on and cracked out 'Crazy in Love' - to which I momentarily lost my feelings, spilt it all over the ground, and stood all over my disappointed as I danced hard in the stands to the song.
Following this up with 'Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)', it was a back-to-back dance fest for the audience, who (majority) waved their left hands in the air.

A welcomed treat of the show was a performance of 'Grown Woman' which I heard didn't come up on the first night of the show. Tribal beats coursed through the hearts of everyone in the audience.
I am not going to lie though that this performance was mainly spent by me trying to zoom even closer to Beyonce's costume and trying to figure out if she was wearing two different shoes. (She's not, it's just that the inside of the shoe is a plain solid blue with a patterned outside that matched her dress.)

And then of course, it came to the finale. Beyonce walked solo onto the stage, and burst out with a beautiful rendition of Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You'. It did make me think though, how Beyonce is like the iconic Whitney Houston of the new generation.

Also, I think that right photo is my favourite image from the Beyonce concert, where I managed to capture her giving a heart sign to the audience. And even the hand in the shot just shows the relationship Beyonce has with her fans. She may appear like royalty and untouchable to reach, but she's still captured the hearts of her fans.

Finishing her concert with 'Halo' was more than fitting. Before her Whitney tribute, Beyonce's last video chapter showed snippets of her life and how far she's come. She's grown to become this iconic singer, she's married to an influential man of hip hop, but is also raising a child who is her joy. "I want to leave my footprints in the sands of time..." she spoke. And quite easily Beyonce does that. No one in that packed out Vector Arena left feeling empty or untouched by Beyonce's performance. It was clearly one of the best concert spectaculars that could exist today, and it was at that end moment where I realised "Yup, that $200 was completely worth it". I don't know if I ever will see a show quite like that again, but any Vector Arena performance has a lot of live up to now. (Looking at you Taylor Swift at the end of November...). I'm a fan Beyonce. I'm truly now a fan.

"Baby I can see your halo...pray you won't fade away."

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2 comments

  1. Great review.
    The set/staging in NZ wasn't identical to the Northern Hemisphere set though, few changes like the actual stage, the second 'B' stage, some of the rigging, the main video screen are/were all different (smaller).
    She's back to using the larger sets in Australia.

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    1. Yeah I did notice the Aussie sets have a trapdoor platform for her big entrance. Still an impressive stage setup that I don't mind if it was a tad smaller (our venues aren't that big compared to Australia's, so there's only so much you could fit in!)

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