Friday night's Beyonce concert in Saskatoon was all about the spectacle. A dimmer star would fade amidst the strategically lit-up codpiece, the Cirque du Soleil-style flying and the troupe of backup dancers wearing nothing but skintight PVC.

But Beyonce is no ordinary performer. From note one, the 27-year-old powerhouse rose above all the gimmicks, mastering the show like a sexy alien overlord princess. Nothing but extraterrestrial origins could explain that voice.

Opening with the song Deja Vu from her album B'Day, Beyonce emerged on the complex stage and the overdressed audience happily rose out of Credit Union Centre's plastic seats. She sparkled in a gold bodysuit with a massive bow bustle -- the first of many pantless costumes. Flanked by an all-female band, the night unfolded with hit after hit, all starring a woman who could perform circles around any other pop star today.

The Saskatoon concert was just the second stop on a tour that will eventually traverse the globe. Edmonton, a seemingly odd choice, was privy to the very first Beyonce I Am . . . stop. The StarPhoenix wasn't allowed to shoot photos of the show, but plenty have already been leaked online thanks to cellphone cameras. One can't help but wonder if holding the first few shows in smaller cities was meant to work out any kinks before the tour reaches bigger markets. If that was the case it wasn't necessary, because Saskatoon's show was nothing short of spectacular.

Beyonce already has a huge catalogue of hits to draw from thanks to her solo records, her role in Destiny's Child and her work in movies. She wailed -- not just sang -- Crazy in Love, Naughty Girl, Freakum Dress, Radio and Check On It. There was also a DC medley that, of course, featured the aptly named Bootylicious. A surprise Canadian shout out -- for those who didn't read the Edmonton reviews -- came when she sang excerpts of You Oughta Know by Alanis Morisette and Angel by Sarah McLachlan.

The fierceness that is her sassy half Sasha made for the most danceable, fun moments of the show, but Beyonce also slowed it down for the angelic Halo and If I Were a Boy.

But the woman can do more than sing. Her Tina Turner legs -- and dance moves to match -- and confident, yet down-to-earth, charm were all on display. It is rare to see someone perform that hard when they could simply rely on blessed vocal cords.

Beyonce doesn't really need the bells and whistles of a big stadium show, but it sure makes for an unforgettable concert. And as she says in the song Ego, "I walk like this 'cuz I can back it up."

Former Canadian Idol contestant Eva Avila opened the show. Though she has grown since her stint on the TV talent show, an overactive smoke machine and blinding spotlights obscured her performance. Plus, at only four songs, the petite singer didn't get much of a chance to fulfil her warming-up duties. At best, Avila offered a pretty voice and a few average pop songs. Her performance was nice, but the Owe It All To You singer will be the last thing on the mind's of Saskatoon concertgoers today.


ETA: since Glutney fans won't shut the fuck up:
typical Beyonce performance:

typical Britney peformance:

one sings LIVE, dances, and sounds good while doing it. the other lipsynchs and looks like a middle schooler who took a few hip hop dance ~classes~


she can sing, she can dance, she can perform, and she can ENTERTAIN. anyone who thinks different is a GARBAGE MOUTHED LIAR.

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