Who is Mrs. Carter?
Is she the one on display in various video interludes, the chic Victorian era queen ruling over well-choreographed subjects? The wistful artistic thinker, seeking solitude and personal discovery? Was she the character of all her songs? The sultry naughty girl, the diva, the lover, the fighter, the survivor?
Or was she all those things, plus a powerhouse woman whose performance is made bold simply by her presence on stage?
Beyonce Knowles Carter exploded out into the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday night with the deliberate ‘Run The World (Girls)’ followed by ‘End Of Time,’ both of which immediately reinforced the credence of Queen Bey’s forceful voice, her incredible backup singers, all-woman band, and the power of sound thundering through the venue.
The two hour, 21 song set explored the singer’s many personas, while those video interludes offered chance to change into personality appropriate garb, ten in all, from a white number with flared hips to a futuro-roman armor. Flowing gowns came out for a guitar driven version of ‘Freakum Dress,’ and Bey sprawled across a grand piano in a sequined royal blue bodysuit for ‘1+1.’
Most songs treaded what is now a well worn path through 2011’s “4,” plus some of her quintessential hits. ‘Get Me Bodied’ rolled into ‘Baby Boy,’ which saw some of the same holograms and silhouettes as February’s Super Bowl performance, then dropped into the heavy beat of ‘Diva.’
The best overall performance of the night may have come with the fast paced and funky rendition of ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’ that let each artist on stage stretch out a little, with horn solos, a vocally huge call and return from Beyonce at the song’s beginning, and twin male dancers nearly stole it all with their spins and splits.
Things couldn’t have ended without ‘Irreplaceable’ moving everyone to the left, a blast from Destiny’s Child (a verse and chorus from ‘Survivor’), or a track to make unmarried women wave their left hands in the air.
Before ending the night with ‘Halo,’ Beyonce sang a verse of Whitney Houston’s rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You,’ and paid homage to the late singer.
Still pushing the fallout from an unflattering image from her Super Bowl performance, only pre-approved images from a single photographer were distributed after the show.
Not that there would have been any harsh photos considering Beyonce’s constant beaming smile and powerful strut; along with the clean white lights, pyrotechnics, and showers of sparks going off behind her. But this was Mrs. Carter’s world, we were all just visitors.