Thirteen years ago, a curly long haired young female singer was selling tens of millions of albums around the world and became the biggest selling debut female artist in history. Fast forward to 2009 and Beyoncé Knowles is performing a cover of Alanis Morrisette’s’ ‘You Oughta Know’ to a crowd probably not old enough to remember the original and why it made such an impact.
Knowles is playing four sold out nights in the O2 in Dublin and State is there to witness one of the biggest shows to pass through Dublin this year. It’s the sort of spectacle that one could imagine eventually ending up in Vegas Beyoncé – an incredibly polished and professional performer – singing and dancing without missing a beat or a note. Opening with ‘Crazy in Love’ this is a performance that gets her (admittedly partisan) audience in the palm of her hand and holds them there for the full two hours of her show. There is only one point throughout the evening where she is not in control, when the crowd serenade her with a classic rendition of Olé, Olé, during which she just stands on the podium in the middle of the Arena, looking slightly bemused or maybe downright confused.
In contrast, the moment when Beyoncé seems completely at home is singing the Etta James song ‘At Last’, backed by the video of her performing at the inaugoration of Barack Obama, effortlessly transporting both us and her back to the 1960s. The young audience scream approval each time Barack Obama appears on the big screen, bringing a knowing smile from the singer.
The show comes to a close with ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’ and anybody that can can open a song with YouTube clips of numerous fans recreating the video in their homes and then get a huge audience of over 8000 fans dancing along with her can only really be described as an amazing performer, whose status as a modern icon of pop and soul is undoubted.