The countdown was over, the traffic jams had begun…V Festival was finally upon us. I had paid my £90 way back in February and had been eagerly anticipating Beyonce’s big appearance ever since. To see the famous Queen Bey in a field in my little hometown was going to be the highlight of my summer. Or was it?
I last saw Beyonce in concert during her Sasha Fierce World Tour, sometime in May ’09. It was the most spectacular, awe-inspiring performance I had ever seen: I danced, I cried — I was hoarse by the time we left the arena. Needless to say, my expectations for Sunday’s performance were extremely high. Imagine my disappointment then, when I was found in the crowd who booed her lateness. After standing on the same spot in a muddy field for three hours (during which Jessie J had blown the roof apart and The Script had created a cult following) Beyonce began her diva act by depriving us of half an hour of her time. British law dictates that all loud noises/disturbances must be curbed by 11pm. Leaving us standing there, cramped in the grass for an extra 30 minutes not only left us cranky, cold and squashed as all surged forward for the best view, but it meant there was no way she was going to be able to give us that time back. So instead of giving us a decent 90 minute show, we were to make do with just over 60.
This 60 minute show apparently required SEVEN costume changes. Bey, we’re standing in a field, love. We know you look great in every colour of sequins imaginable and that you have impossible legs. We appreciate them in every Instagram pic you deem to share with us. We are wearing wellies and currently staring at the arse of the girl in front of us who’s just jumped up her bloke’s shoulders and is now arrogantly blocking our view. We came to hear you sing.
I had delayed writing this rant because I was half expecting a retraction in the morning’s newspaper announcing Bey’s illness or lack of health regarding her voice that night. However, none has appeared, so I feel sort of safe in asking about what happened to her vocals. What vocals we were given were as beautiful as ever, but she rather relied on her backing singers/the audience to give her the melody whilst she just performed vocal aerobics over the top. It seemed as though she had just come to dance, which would have been lovely had she danced in person per se, but with a costume change every 1.5 songs directed by some sort of self-absorbed video footage overhead over which Bey’s voiceovers laboriously dictated her views on femininity and seduction, I was bored and disappointed.
That night, the woman I most thought sensationalised feminism and the kind of world I felt we should be working for was the biggest, rudest, most arrogant diva I had ever witnessed. She was fake, standing in the middle of a pose-fest telling us all that we would be looking back on this in twenty years as the night we spent with “BEY-ON-CE.” But then I realised something: Beyonce is human. If she can’t get it right all the time, with the flicky hair swipes and the delicious booty shaking, then we sure as hell can’t be expected to. She stopped being something I aspired to be, and became something we all are. So yes, I was disappointed and yes, I will probably be ranting about this for a really long time, but at the end of the day, I still stood in a field covered in beer and belted my heart out with Mrs. Carter. Whilst I can no longer whole-heartedly buy into her image anymore, I can still smile proudly to myself about that.