To the left, to the left

Yesterday evening, something unexpected happened. Out of the blue, I was invited (persuaded) to go to a concert to raise money for different women’s rights causes. Names were thrown at me to entice me – “J.Lo’s going to be there,” “Madonna’s putting in an appearance,” “Rihanna is performing.”

In the face of such strong persuasion (and the accusation that I’ve become quite boring and must go, to inject some liveliness and optimism into my life), I agreed to go. With stout British stiff upper-lip-ness, though, I told myself it was ‘not really my scene’ and I’m not even into J.Lo and I was simply going to keep a friend company.

We found our seats without too much trouble and watched while a crew of Zumba dancers gave it their all for a little while, to keep us all entertained.

image

We knew the big names would be headlining so were surprised to see Jessie J walk on first. I was also surprised to see that looked like a sickly anorexic teenager. The new shaved head she is sporting doesn’t help, it makes her look really skeletal. But about her singing, I was pleasantly surprised. Her Olympics closing ceremony performance last year hurt my ears and I hadn’t high hopes for her live singing but she was good. Hats off to you, Jessie.

Then a gal in a pretty red dress and flowing blond locks and typical high school beauty looks performed some strange loud crashy rap songs. The energy fell a little flat and we sat smiling politely and clapping along a bit. As she did her second and third songs, we feigned polite interest, as one would with a boring guest at a dinner party. Not wanting to break out and yell, “GET OFF! WE ONLY CAME TO SEE BEYONCE,” we tolerated her disjointed noise then sighed with relief when she left the stage.

The next few acts were an Italian woman (the beat was funky, we clapped and wooped and waved our hands – then she started singing in a foreign language and we lost interest and went for a toilet break), Florence and The Machine (long flowy dress made me think of Lord Of The Rings and elfin beauties for the whole time) and John Legend (he was alright on his own songs but murdered Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which upset me).

Then a group of three girls came on and played guitars and bashed on drums and sang/shouted and made funny faces and I found the whole thing quite confusing.

Then Madonna came on! (We had blagged our way to some seats closer to the stage by then.)

image

“WOOOOO!” said we.

“We’re all here today because we care about women and we know how important education is in the empowerment of women,” said Madonna.

“I CAME FOR J.LO AND BEYONCE! I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT THE WOMEN!” someone yelled. I don’t know who. Just, ahem, someone.

“I’m going to tell you about a woman in Afghanistan,” said Madonna.

“WOOOOOO!” said we.

“Her name is….”

“WOOOOO! WE LOVE YOU!”

“Listen to me,” Madonna said, earnestly.

“WOOOOO! WOO! WOO! WOO!”

Listen to me!

Silence.

“Sorry, Madonna. Sorry,” we mumbled, and listened obediently while she talked about education.

Next up was Ellie Goulding. She wore little shorts and trainers and looked the picture of effortless cool. She bounced around on stage and had a whale of a time. Then Timberland came on with (wait for it) Simon Le Bon! Tinberland proceeded to do a few of his biggest tracks, replacing Justin Timberlake’s smooth gentle voice with his rather shouty one. He really went for it, giving it his all, performing his heart out. We rewarded him with a typically British response. We wiggled around a little doing sitting-down-dancing in our seats and held our cups of tea aloft and hoo-rahhed his efforts.

And then finally, you could tell the Americans had landed when a massive explosion of glitter sparkles shot out of the stage accompanied by mini firework puffs and smoke machines. Out of this emerged J.Lo, skimpily clad in a black leotard thing and looking fabulous at 43. She flicked her hair and spent a lot of time at the front of the stage, looking into the wind machine and being glamorous and performing perfectly executed dance routines.
image

There was a strong emphasis on loud drum beats and sometimes I didn’t know what she was singing but it didn’t seem to matter, cause she’s still, she’s still, Jenny from the block so I wooped and danced with the rest of them. Occasionally, there was a fast and a slow beat going on at the same time and I didn’t know what to do with myself so I bobbed around a bit and swung my arms enthusiastically at my sides. J.Lo finished her set by singing Come Together by The Beatles with Mary J Blige. That’s right. Mary J Blige. Two for the price of one.

Then some talking and videos etc happened, I didn’t really follow them.

And then… Beyonce entered.

And some kind of hysteria took hold of me. I gave a short scream and jumped up.

“YEHHHH!” I yelled.

“Are y’all having a good time tonight?” Beyonce asked us.

“YES, I AM, THANK YOU FOR ASKING!” I yelled. “ARE YOU?”

Someone then pointed out that she’s not actually asking us. It’s just a rhetorical question, to which the answer should always be, “WOOOOOO!”

“Are you ready to party, London?” she asked.

Forgetting myself, I said, “YES! I’M A BIT TIRED BUT I THINK I’LL BE OK.”

And she got down with her bad self. She sung, we sung with her. She waved her arms, we waved our arms with her. She wooped and held the microphone to the audience. We screamed with unashamed abandon and lapped up all her fancy sparkly confetti, her smoke machine, her wind machine, her funky dancing and drum beats and long flowing hair. We sang ‘To the left, to the left,” in unison and all pointed to the left and loved Beyonce and loved each other and looked in teary-eyed wonder at her amazing beauty and wondered if we’d ever love anyone as much as we loved her in that moment.

“If I were a boy…” she sang.

“WE LOVE YOU BEYONCE!”

“Even just for a day…”

“WE’LL DO ANYTHING YOU WANT!”

“I’d roll out of bed in the morning..”

“WE WANT TO BE YOU BEYONCE!”

“Put on what I wanted and go…”

“YOU LOOK GREAT IN EVERYTHING BEYONCE! YOU’RE GORGEOUS! WE LOVE YOU!”

And so it went on. Beyonce sang, we loved. She was golden haired and slim waisted and angel voiced.

And Jay-Z walked on and did himself a little rap on Crazy In Love and we didn’t know where to put ourselves. Our throats became hoarse from excited screaming.

Beyonce finished with a little tribute to Whitney, which morphed into Halo, which made me giggle because I used to play it to a guy I was going out with and look at him with my serious eyes and tell him it made me think of him. Vom.

And then she left us. She just said thanks, bye, and walked right out of our lives. And we were left, empty and helpless. Life would never be the same after Beyonce.

Then suddenly we remembered the time and that public transport and getting out was going to be a nightmare. And suddenly we were all trying to squash out of the exit, cursing one another for barging us or getting in our way and scrambling for the train stations and bus stops, as though Beyonce didn’t even exist. Beyonce who? Get outta my way! I need to get home!

Advertisements

6 responses to this post.

  1. Sorta like the book “After Enlightenment, the Laundry”.

    Reply

  2. It has been ages since I have been to a music concert… two weeks… but this post beautifully conveyed the fun of your experience.

    Reply

  3. […] letter has been prompted by Jessie J’s song, ‘Wild.’ I heard it at the Chime For Change concert for the first time and I thought, “You know what Jessie J? Shut up. Just shut […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: