Child of Destiny. Sasha Fierce. Mrs. Carter. In her nearly fifteen-year career, Beyonce has collected many epithets. After last night’s Super Bowl performance, she can add another to that list: killer of lights.
Indeed, the diva delivered a halftime show so electrifying that the Superdome lost power after it ended, plunging the stadium into a blackout during the third quarter.
Beginning one of the best halftime shows in years, Queen B rose in a thicket of smoke like a statue awakened from stone for her opening number, “Love on Top.” Beginning acapella, she embellished the breezy midtempo number with impressive runs.
Then, the famous horns sounded, and she blasted into an explosive rendition of her first solo smash, “Crazy in Love.” After the Inauguration “incident,” Beyonce put all lip-synch rumors to rest, belting as she jumped, gyrated and death dropped through “Crazy in Love,” even improvising a jazzy scat scale towards the end.
Her set-list was truly superb, as she mixed hits old and new in delightful juxtaposition. Launching into the reggae-inspired “Baby Boy,” Beyonce proved she was not afraid to break out funkier numbers from before she was wife of Jay-Z and friend of Michelle Obama. “Baby Boy” also featured laser lights and flashing Beyonce silhouettes, possibly factoring into the game’s later wattage problem.
And then, the moment we all had been waiting for. As the opening chords of “Bootylicious” played like childhood’s sweet refrain, Kelly and Michelle rose from the floorboards (#nosmoke) and Destiny’s Child reunited at long last.
It was a moment that satisfied Generation Y better than a Christmas stocking of Tamagotchis, Dunkaroos and L.A. Lights. The sight of Kelly and Michelle flanking Beyonce is as soothing an image for Generation Y as Mayberry was for Baby Boomers—a harking back to a simpler time before a crumbling economy and uncertain futures dominated our collective psyche.
The trio performed the addicting “Bootylicious” in all of its ghetto, forced rhyme spender. In case anyone forgot, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly” is one of the best phrases modern language has birthed. Then, surrounded by a ring of fire, the group switched to the brassy, empowering “Independent Woman,” theme from 2000’s Charlie’s Angels, with some of the best harmonizing pop music has heard in years. The Destiny’s Child reunion was short-lived, but Queen B had one more surprise in store.
To roars from the Superdome, she invited Kelly and Michelle to perform in her solo smash “Single Ladies.” Ever the benevolent Queen, she let them each sing a line and stand in for her two background dancers.
Finally, the set ended on “Halo,” a gripping ballad from Beyonce’s I Am solo album. After a magnificent rendition, she ended the performance prostrate on the floor before her stadium of admirers.
All in all, it was one of the best halftime performances in years. Madonna’s show last year featured a mediocre new song and forced iterations of anthems “Like a Prayer” and “Vogue.” By contrast, Beyonce looked into her musical past graciously and honestly, visiting each of her iconic personas: the Destiny’s Child era-girl, independent Single Lady and finally, Mrs. Carter.
In taking the audience on a tour of her career in a satisfying, rather than reluctant manner, Beyonce proved to be a thankful and talented diva that not only brought the house down, but killed the lights.
Later, Beyonce posted a handwritten note to her website, thanking all of her fellow performers. “What a proud day for African-American women,” she wrote. “You are all beautiful, talented and showed so much class. It was an honor to perform at the Super Bowl with you phenomenal ladies.”
She also announced a 2013 world tour, dubbed the “Mrs. Carter Show.” Arenas had best begin checking their circuits now.
Watch Beyonce’s complete halftime performance below: