So by now, you have probably read 200 reviews of Beyonce’s halftime performance. But have you read one where the author was IN THE CROWD? Well, this is it. I’m going to give you all the details, from the inside.
The Planned Intro: You might have heard that the original opening for the Halftime Show was for Beyoncé to pop out of a 2014 Corvette Stingray. This is true. For the Thursday rehearsal, we got into our positions on the stage and watched as the curtain was peeled off of a glorious red Corvette. What surprised us, even more, was that the car was hollow. The plan was that after the Pepsi countdown, there would be an animated sequence of the car driving on to the stage, 4 wheels blazing. The scene would then cut to a live feed of Beyoncé emerging out of the car, as the dancers inside the car moved it apart piece by piece. It was pretty cool, but for whatever reason, we arrived at our meeting place for the Halftime Show and some of us (including myself) were told that they had opted to go for a different scene. The new plan was for a crowd of crazed fans to come bursting out of the tunnel and run to the stage on TV. This scene was easily overlooked in the show, as it received about 5 seconds of air time, but still, the car was cut.
The Actual Intro: The actual intro started with the Pepsi countdown, and a view of the arena followed after. Some epic music started playing, and you could see throngs of crazed fans making their way to the stage, with some people (AKA my close friends) waving erratically at the camera. I just missed some screen time, unfortunately. What was unusual was that we couldn’t run in immediately after we were kicked out of the tunnel, we crowded in a line in front of the entrance before the fire shot up from the stage. Then we were allowed to enter. We filed into our places as we watched Beyonce emerge from the stage in her dramatic fashion. What made the moment more powerful for us in the audience was that there was music playing. In rehearsals, there were almost no lights, and from what we recall, that was NOT the soundtrack that played. The actual intro couldn’t have been better, watching the intro back is chill-inducing.
Love on Top: Beyoncé sang just a few lines of Love on Top acapella, with some well-timed blasts of fire ensuing. During rehearsals, there was only one performance where the fire was used, and it was not synchronized with her lines. Also, she only sang 1 performance live in rehearsals (there were 4 performances, and she lipped 3. She told us she was preserving her voice) and she did not ad-lib any of Love on Top. She likely chose to do some ad-libs here to prove she was in fact singing live. Short but sweet. She then gave a dramatic look in my direction and said “Superdome… 1, 2, 3, 4!” before Crazy in Love started playing.
Crazy in Love: Everyone and their momma knew this song was gonna be played, but the real questions was “Would Jay-Z appear?” the answer, no. She instead opted for a guitar/Beyonce sing-off. More on that later. After counting in her crew, she strutted down to the front of the stage, where she rolled on the floor and gave us a booty popping visual. On the first rehearsed performance, the poor girl dropped her earpiece and mic while booty popping. Glad to see everything was in place for the real thing. After some standard rump-shaking, she introduced her soloist, whose name I STILL have yet to figure out. All I know is that the girl could shred, and that guitar could spark. Beyoncé gave a solid vocal fight, but both performers didn’t really blow anyone away. It was good, but not great. After Crazy in Love, she briefly thanked the audience, before kicking it into my favorite part of the show.
End of Time: My favorite part of the show!! After thanking the audience Bey kicked it into Sasha Fierce mode once more, shaking the arena with some stomping thunder. I also have yet to figure out how she timed the bass perfectly in the dome. On TV and the Jumbotron she looked slightly out of synch, but take my word for it, she was spot on. Her dancers soon joined her and everyone in the dome was hypnotized. She had that arena down on lock. She then entered into “End of Time,” doing some rabbit dance to the left side of the stage before progressing to the center once more. At this point, it was hard to see her, as I could see a multitude of background dancers, but only the back of her head. I eventually couldn’t see anything when part of the stage folded up behind her and “Baby Boy” started playing.
Baby Boy: I can’t give very many details about Baby Boy since I couldn’t see it. But some of my friends said that it was an incredible visual spectacle. From the Jumbotron it sure looked like one, and it was definitely weird to think that this was going on 10 feet from me but I couldn’t see it. I took this moment of time to sneak my way from the back of the right eye up to the nose of the right face. Cut some people off but, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Bootylicious: The screen came down and we watched as Beyoncé turned around and walked our way, while Kelly Rowland popped out from the stage, and Michelle “Twig” Williams popped out from the other side. Those two are twigs in real life. We also had the same gripe as you at home, we couldn’t hear them. I heard the word Bootylicious and that was it. None of that synchronized vocal acrobatics.
Independent Woman: We could hear the trio in this song, and this is where Beyoncé flashed the now ever-famous triangle. Did people forget that there were eyes in the stage set up? I’m surprised no one caught on to that. But Kelly is singing “the rock I’m wearing,” when Beyoncé flashes the sign. So instead of an Illuminati shout out, it was a shout out to her husband’s “Roc Nation” record label. Back to vocals, the trio was fine here, just fine. I sang along, it was cool, but they might have wanted to choose another, more of a stadium filler jam.
Single Ladies: People at home could barely tell, but during this song, an army of dancers, and I mean an army flooded the stage. And they were all in sync! That blew my mind. Like Bootylicious, I could only hear Beyoncé here. Someone in the tech booth should be fired. The dancing had all the girls (and the guys) begging for someone to put a ring on it.
Halo: The crowd sing along. The day before the performance we were all told that Beyoncé wanted us to memorize Halo. I, fortunately, had the song memorized beforehand, I mean, how do you NOT know Halo? Anyways, after all the pushing going on in the crowd, it was very tranquil and a unifying moment for us in the crowd after nearly killing each other to get to the front row. Everyone was saying her vocals were off here, and they got shouty towards the end, but it all just added energy into the stadium. The best moment of the night, however, was when she came back to our side of the stage and stuck the mic out to us. People. Went. Bat. Shit. Crazy. There was that one weirdo in front of me who caressed her knee and people of course were shouting like they were being shot, but for a crowd at the super bowl, I have to say, we were pretty tame. When she headbanged though, I was lucky enough to feel some of that gorgeous hair, and it felt like touching the mane of a golden unicorn. Fireworks exploded, notes in the stratosphere were taken down by her vocal cords, it was magical. It was especially crazy because I could HEAR her singing without the mic! It was all over too soon, as she fell backward in dramatic fashion (an un-rehearsed moment I should add).
Overall this was absolutely spectacular. It seems so long on TV but in reality, it went by in an instant. I would do ANYTHING to relive that performance. A true masterpiece.