From the look and sound of it, she wasn’t kidding. Beyoncé kicked off the first of four sold-out shows Friday with a high-wattage event that left little doubt that motherhood would not stop either her artistry or her ambition.
The shows have been some of the most anticipated of the year since they rank as the pop queen’s sole scheduled dates. They’re also her first live events since last August, when she performed a string of shows at New York’s Roseland Theater, just before she revealed her pregnancy on the MTV Video Music Awards.
Local fans snapped up most of the tickets, which were going for up to five times their list price on outlets like Stub Hub.
Shawni Spruill, 44 of St. Albans, Queens, won her tickets from a contest on WBLS, but she said she would have gladly paid.
“It’s amazing that she’s doing a big show like this in just about four months,” she said. “I went back to work after my first kid in the same amount of time, but I was just getting on a train, not singing and dancing like she does.”
Monique Allen, 37, of Co-Op City, the Bronx, seconded the emotion. “It’s amazing to see her here in such a special way.”
Some fans lined up at the Ovation hours before the event. Makysia Williams, 23, of Trenton, N.J., sat outside the doors four hours before show time with her 15-year-old sister Gabriel. “I’ve never seen her and I’ve always wanted to,” said the elder Williams. “She’s been my favorite since Destiny’s Child.”
Other fans came just for the spectacle. “I’m more of a rock fan,” said Jill Doyle 25, of Somerset, N.J. “But I love to watch her dance.”
The shows also served as a coming out for the Ovation Theater, a new 5,050 seat venue with a state-of-the-art sound system and favorable sight lines. It’s a more intimate venue than Beyoncé might normally play, no doubt serving as a testing ground for a full tour that, given her swift return, can’t be that far off.