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Beyoncé, live at Oxegen
Beyoncé’s thunder-stealing performance at Glastonbury ensures anticipation for her Oxegen slot is somewhere the far side of fever pitch...
Ed Power, 12 Jul 2011
Remarkably, she actually exceeds expectations that already scrape the stratosphere. The moment her instantly recognisable silhouette – that epic perm, the Queen of Sheba stance – appears on the giant video screens and the opening bars to ‘Crazy In Love’ kick out, it’s obvious we’re about to witness something very different from a workaday festival slot. Stomping across the stage, flanked by two dancers and white-clad, all-female backing band, Beyoncé belts out the song with force-of-nature charisma, so that you don’t know whether to applaud or tremble in awe. It’s a stunning opening, but merely a taster of what is to follow.
She re-works ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ into ten minutes of Wagnerian R&B, seducing you with a song that seems to have about half a dozen hooks. If there were any fears beforehand, it’s that the ballads that constitute the bulk of her new record, 4, would fall flat in front of an up-for-a-good-time crowd. The exact opposite actually happens, as Beyoncé makes a dustbowl Kildare field feel as intimate as a candlelit jazz club. Then she’s cranking up a gear again, for a medley of Destiny’s Child numbers, before lifting the roof off a venue that doesn’t even have a roof with ‘Run The World (Girls)’ and ‘Halo’.
“Ireland is one of my favourite countries to play. You all have so much fun and so much soul!” she says, sounding genuinely pleased to stand before us. The audience breaks into a chorus of ‘Olé Olé Olé’ - proof, were it needed, that the love flows both ways.