NEW YORK — [artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé[/artist] sure knows how to get things started.
The sultry singer appeared at Madison Square Garden on Sunday for her I Am... tour and was joined by [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] for the night's very first song: The married power couple performed a medley of their hits "Crazy in Love" and "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)."
The crowd roared when Jay's "Crazy in Love" verse came up, but then the music swiftly changed to the Neptunes' spacey production of the rapper's hit. Jay, decked out in dark denim, black hat, jacket, T-shirt, shades and matching Air Yeezys, ran onto the stage moments into the show, surprising the barely settled audience. From the looks of it, Jay was also sporting a black do-rag under his fitted cap, a sign that he's cut his hair and the recording for his upcoming The Blueprint 3 is wrapping up.
But Beyoncé was anything but second banana, even to a beloved hometown rapper, during this summer affair. These fans were here to see B.
Through six outfit changes, bombastic ballads, high-energy singles and a daring high-wire journey from the stage to the center of the arena, Beyoncé delivered over and over again.
"I'm so happy to be home," the Houston transplant told the Manhattan audience after running through her first three songs, which also included "Naughty Girl and "Freakum Dress."
"Get Me Bodied" then boomed over the speakers as the big bow on the back of Beyoncé's sequin dress flapped up and down with her gyrating dance moves.
She quickly changed into a white bustier with a sheer, flowing wrap. (Head over to the Newsroom Blog for a complete fashion report on the show.) From there, the softer side of Bey kicked in as she belted out "Smash Into You," "Ave Maria" and "Broken-Hearted Girl." She slipped on something a little tougher for "If I Were a Boy" — aviator shades and a bulletproof-looking one-piece — and mixed Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" into the song.
But B saved the best for last.
The house lights went off and when they flashed back on, Beyoncé appeared at the head of the stage and harness wires pulled her up in the air. B traveled from the main stage to a converted landing pad in the middle of the crowd. The stunt was similar to her "Baby Boy" entrance at the 2003 MTV VMA Awards.
Sasha Fierce had arrived. Attitude anthems like "Baby Boy," "Upgrade U" and "Bootylicious" soon followed.
Beyoncé ran back to the main stage and closed things out with "Halo" and "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."
A montage of homemade "Single Ladies" video knockoffs played onscreen, including the Justin Timberlake clip from "Saturday Night Live." The audience laughed as Beyoncé fans — big and small, male and female, retired and in kindergarten — thrusted their hips, pouted their lips and diva'd themselves into fierce mode.
"I am yours," B said as she left.