We knew going in that Beyoncé was absolutely going to be singing live during the Super Bowl. She told us so herself.
The only thing we didn't know is what she'd sing. Taking the same stage as such icons as Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Sir Paul McCartney, U2, Madonna and the Rolling Stones, Bey put all talk of her track-singing of the national anthem, at last month's inauguration to rest as she set the stage on fire with an uptempo medley of solo hits and a reunion with her former band mates in Destiny's Child.
The halftime show opened with the voice of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi intoning, "excellence must be pursued, it must be wooed with all of one's might and every bit of effort that we have," while a screaming parade of fans rushed onto the filed toward the stage. Bursts of flame created mirror images of a woman's face as Beyoncé rose from the floor amid towers of orange flames and a fiery outline of the singer's torso in the background.
With smoke pouring out all around her, Bey stood, hand on hip and sang the opening lines of "Love on Top" a cappella while rising into the air on a hydraulic lift. Doing her fiercest runway strut in a black leather jumpsuit and black boots with thigh-high stockings, she busted into her 2003 solo hit "Crazy in Love," working the stage from side to side along with her backup dancers. They all shook it in a line before Queen B ripped off her leather miniskirt to reveal an ever skimpier lacy skirt, wailing as her guitarist ripped off a solo, flames shooting from the top and bottom of her instrument.
A military boot stomp served as the intro to a tribal "Till The End of Time," fueled a horn solo from a trio of players in her all-female band. Backed by a video screen that flashed multiple images of her gyrating figure, she then moved into a hip-rolling "Baby Boy." Her dancers were doubled up on the screen that rose up behind them, as well as on the video screen on the stage, creating a mind-bending illusion of an army of Beyoncés.
And then the moment everyone knew was coming. Destiny's Child mates Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, wearing similarly body-hugging leather catsuits, shot up out of the floor for a few scatty bars of "Bootylicious." The trio didn't linger, though, quickly segueing into "Independent Women" as the stage was engulfed in a ring of flames and they struck their best "Charlie's Angels" pose.
The hits kept coming with a group run through the solo Beyoncé smash "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," with all three busting out the iconic hand flip and fierce sideways march in perfect unison.
Things then slowed down a bit for "Halo," with a sea of blue lights twinkling from the stadium's seats while Bey crouched down and reached out to touch hands with the fans packed into the two silhouette-shaped spaces on either side of the stage. Fireworks blasting out behind her, Bey ended with a titanic note amid the screams of the crowd in the Super Dome.
"Thank you for this moment, God bless ya'll," she said as the high-energy show ended with billowing white fabric fanning out from behind the digital faces to form rippling hair.
Yes, there was no Jay-Z moment and no performance of the new DC single "Nuclear," or even a hint of the first single from Bey's upcoming fifth solo album, but it's hard to believe that anyone in New Orleans was complaining about the performance.
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