Last night, Beyoncé premiered her Live At Roseland: Elements Of 4 DVD at New York’s Paris Theatre and, fortunately for us, we were able to score tix! The mood outside the theatre was palpable as guests waited, pacing nervously and craning their necks in anticipation of King B’s arrival. A crowd of patient fans had also accumulated behind the barriers across the street, with cameras poised and hand-painted signs of affection waving, it became very clear that Beyoncé’s legion of loyal followers weren’t messing around. When the star finally emerged the crowd — guests and fans alike — erupted into applause, loud whoops and a few tears. Pregnant, glowing, and with that winning smile plastered across her face, Beyoncé took her time, being sure to bestow her royal wave in every possible direction. And for the brief moment she was there, no attention was divided. In that moment, Beyoncé was all that existed.
Inside the theatre, once Beyoncé had taken leave, the mood did not dim. When the DVD began playing, again, guests erupted as though Beyoncé were performing right in front of them. Opening on a blurry hotel room, a dim light falling across two ambiguous characters, the first scene of the DVD met its intended task — we were sitting on the edge of our seats. Once the characters were revealed by the telling “IV” tattooed to their ring fingers, the crowd whipped into a frenzy of cheers, with guests bouncing on their seats and fist pumping (which didn’t stop until the lights came up at the very end). And then, there she was: in her spangled costume, Beyoncé, on stage, live at New York’s Roseland Ballroom.
What followed was moving, inspirational and infectious. Immaculately produced, Beyoncé’s voice cut through the screen and entered the room. The stories she told, from her early days as a 9-year-old at Destiny’s Child‘s first audition to the conception of 4, were compelling and endearing, her giggles met with the audience’s giggles, her love completely sincere, and again, met with the audience’s love. After performing her pre-4 medley, Beyoncé performed 4 in its entirety, and the one thing that struck us was that even in the slower songs like “I Miss You” and “1 + 1″, there wasn’t one yawn-inducing moment. Tight and succinct, there’s no filler in the Live At Roseland DVD — it’s high energy from the beginning to the end, and doesn’t give you a chance to lag or lose interest. Indeed, we were shouting “Again, again!” by the time the credits rolled.
(There’s more of our review below!)
With montages of footage of Beyoncé as a little girl, with Destiny’s Child, on holiday with her husband Jay-Z, the experience is a disarmingly intimate one, and left us feeling somehow closer and more connected to the performer, despite our privy to these moments being shared with a theatre filled with people. So there’s the magic of Beyoncé — even when she’s speaking to the masses, she’s really speaking to you, and you alone. Live At Roseland: Elements Of 4 does just that, giving you your own personal evening with Beyoncé. We came out understanding the phenomenon better, from her early experiences writing songs like “Independent Woman” and “Survivor” to her now all-female ensemble, Beyoncé’s force became undeniable.
What comes across most in the DVD is her fearlessness, absolute grace and ultimate humility. And that as a role model, she goes against the grain of current trends favoring “I am an outcast” and “insecurity is OK.” She stands before you, Live at Roseland, and says “I am here. And I am wonderful. You are, too.” You’ll cry. You’ll dance. You’ll sing along. And you’ll definetly reach the end credits thinking that you want to be more like Beyoncé.
Beyonce’s Live At Roseland: Elements Of 4 DVD will be released on November 21.
[Photos: Getty Images; Beyonceonline.com]