Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the Mrs. Carter tour at el estadio, the latest in a trend of big singers skipping Bogotá and opting for the city of eternal spring instead.
Considering the weather last night, the reason is obvious- perfect temperature, not a cloud in the sky, almost full moon.
In the US I normally avoid stadium concerts because it feels alienating unless you have the money to sit close.
I don’t experience that here though, maybe because these concerts don’t come around so often and there’s a palpable excitement in the air.
The girls all get super dressed up, like a pasarela (cat walk) as my roommate pointed out; people arrive early and you make friends with the ones next to you; and inevitably someone always starts the wave, which will go around the stadium a good 5 times.
There is no alcohol permitted but they sell tons of food. Keeping up with my record as the worst vegetarian on the planet, I had a great ham sandwich before the concert.
I needed to cure myself of a small hangover, the result of a humanitarian effort to introduce my British friend to guaro.
It was the biggest concert in Medellin since Madonna last November, and so there was a lot of chatter on which concert was better.
While I don’t think the two artists are comparable in terms of singing, both concerts were world tours by big American artists with a lot of hype.
The biggest thing Madonna did right, which Beyoncé got wrong, was that she brought her own opening act to warm up the crowd, world-famous Paul Oakenfold.
Mr. Oakenfold was fantastic. Warming up a stadium crowd single-handedly is no small feat, but Mr. Oakenfold was up to job, getting everyone’s energy to peak levels.
The guy last night, however, was a local DJ and he was terrible. His mixing was abrupt, he never let a song play for more than 30 seconds, and much of the “music” was just a lot of noises strewn together.
People hated him so much that after a half hour, the crowd started waving goodbye to him, something that, albeit cruel, was very amusing.
When he finally finished, he had sucked all the energy out of the crowd, doing a disservice to Miss B when she finally came onstage.
Beyoncé lip synched a few of her songs, which was disappointing because she doesn’t need to.
Madonna lip synched or auto-tuned almost everything, which was better for our sake, if you’ve ever heard her sing live in the past ten years.
However Miss B doesn’t need that! I understand that she has to preserve her voice and it must be hard on her voice with so many concerts, but um I need to point out that is her job.
Call me old-fashioned, but that is what singers do. They sing. And for the amount she gets paid, you’d think she’d figure out how to be able to sing for 90 minutes.
She also spoke not one word of Spanish to the audience, not even a muchas gracias.
Madonna attempted to speak a little bit in Spanish and people appreciated the effort with resounding cheers.
But to be fair, Beyoncé did sing the first verse of “Irreplaceable” in Spanish, which was awesome.
So maybe that is worth more than Madonna’s qué paso, which should have been qué pasa or qué pasó, or perhaps she actually was confused about what was happening around her.
Spanish and lip syncing aside though, Beyoncé is without question the superior performer and she gave a great show.
She had a lot fewer bells and whistles than Madonna because she doesn’t need them. She brought the girl power, with an all female band and a fantastic group of back up singers called the mamas.
I felt a kinship with her, us being two gringas in MDE, and I was wishing she was staying one more day so I could take her to try arepas and dip cheese in hot chocolate.
Next time B, let’s make a date, okay?