On Beyoncé’s Birthday, 10 lessons from her live performances
Today Beyoncé turns 33. We know from many stars before (i.e. Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani) that if you work your pound cake hard enough, you’ll only get better with age. A month ago, I attended the On the Run tour when it made its final stop in San Francisco. I made a concerted effort to avoid any spoilers (as if the show was one of my favorite murder mystery shows… i.e. one with a villain named A), but I knew I was in for a treat.
Mr. and Mrs. Carter set up shop at the home of the Giants, AT&T Park. The energy was palpable walking in; we have watched countless Giants games, but no one had attended a concert there before. No one knew what to expect. The crowd was grabbing pre-show beers, scarfing down some kind of sustenance to soak in the alcohol, hurrying to their seats, chatting uncontrollably.
Then the lights dimmed. Everyone stopped talking. Everyone got on their feet. There were maybe two occasions when the crowd sat down, and it definitely wasn’t during “Forever Young” (Justin Timberlake who? Just kidding. I love JT, but Bey brought new swag to the song) when the entire stadium lit up with 50,000 cell phone lights.
Nothing else mattered while we were gathered together for Jay and Bey. Their technically perfect performance left us wanting nothing more than to savor those two and a half hours. We left changed. But what does that mean really? Let me tell you. In honor of the Queen Bey’s birthday, here are 10 lessons I realized from her live performances, both at On The Run and at that insane spectacular at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Greatness doesn’t happen overnight. Hard work pays off.
Look at a Destiny’s Child video from when they started. Look at a Beyoncé video from when she broke off and went solo. Actually, just watch the “Flawless” video and see her as one-fourth of the “failed” group Girl’s Tyme. It doesn’t take a professional to notice the immense improvement in her performance (but, based on the haters, it doesn’t hurt to have a background in performing arts to fully appreciate it). Instead of preventing her dancers from outshining her, she rose to meet them at their level. Beyoncé may have been born with talent, but she worked her ass off to become a star.
Focus will get you far.
We do have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé. However, not all of us have the luxury to devote every waking hour to being the greatest living entertainer. Now, here’s my point: Not all of us are meant to be that. Figure out your purpose in life, and devote your energy to carrying it out.
Practice makes perfect.
Calm, cool, collected. I literally think I saw Queen Bey sweating glitter at the VMAs. Okay, fine, she’s not a unicorn; she’s the realest. She personified “I don’t sweat, I glisten.” Why? Because she probably spends most of her time working out and rehearsing to present a perfect 17-minute no-breaks performance. The more you prepare, the less you sweat when the spotlight is on you. Live like you have a personal wind machine on you at all times.
You’re only as good as your last performance.
I was so careful not to get too excited for the show; I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. What happened that night was pure magic: months of hard work culminating in 2 hours of perfection. Except. That wasn’t their first show. And it wasn’t their last. No one who watched the show at any of their tour stops had anything less to say about their night other than “life-changing.” Beyoncé steps out on stage every single night and gives every single performance 200%. (For the record, Jay Z blew us out of the water too.) I didn’t think she could get better than she was on stage at OTR, and then the VMAs happened.
Live in the moment. Live every moment.
If you are living your dream, doing what you really want at every moment (whether that’s leaving a job that doesn’t suit you, choosing to spend time with your family instead of going out on the town, staying out later than usual on a work night), give it your all. When Bey is on stage, her sole purpose seemingly is to show up her last performance. She’s not trying to be better than anyone; she just wants to be herself (and so what if that means being the best). Life is waiting for no one, and if you aren’t living every moment with conviction, you may have to reevaluate.
You are in control of your destiny.
Of course sometimes shit goes down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator. We all know the conspiracy theories left and right. (This is the one I believe here.) Consider this: Beyoncé had the performance of her life, and don’t for one second think she’s peaking, because I’m sure she will be the one to tell you she’s just getting started. This power couple knows exactly what they’re doing. Stay three steps ahead, because again: time waits for no one.
You are irreplaceable.
But you have to prove it. You should know you’re at the top of your game. If you don’t, it might be time to reflect and understand what changes you need to make. In a stadium full of the best in the business, Beyoncé dared to welcome MTV to her world. The higher you climb, the further you have to fall… but when you’re always striving for “perfection,” everyone will carry you and keep you going. Cue Beygency.
Don’t take anything for granted.
After Beyoncé was presented with the lifetime achievement award just weeks before her 33rd birthday (and 24 years after she first debuted as an artist), she stepped away from her Sasha Fierce persona and basked in the triumph of decades of hard work. She recognized the weight of the award, the blessing of having her family, and the success of her performance. She was “full.”
Do it for love.
Love of music. Love of attention. Love for Jay. Love for Blue. When you truly love what you’re working toward, nothing can stop you. There’s a reason Oprah is where she is; no matter how big she gets, each of these ladies puts love of God at the center of her life. I mean. These women never burns out. With that much pressure and the weight of the world, how might she unwind? Driver…
Flawless; ladies, tell ’em.
Say I look so good tonight. Beyoncé’s number one message right now is that women are flawless. We are flawless. You are flawless. Now instead of trying to be Yoncé, channel her spirit, her determination, her work ethic, and become the absolute best version of yourself.
Every day we urge you to channel your inner single girl. Today we urge you to channel your inner Sasha Fierce. Happy B’Day!