Beyonce proves she is queen of the music scene; CONCERT Beyonce, Liverpool Echo Arena.
THERE are pop divas.
Then there is the force of nature that is Beyonce Knowles.
Saturday's date at the Echo Arena was the 30th show of her I Am... Sasha Fierce tour in almost as many days, but you'd never have guessed it.
The night began with high drama. Our first glimpse of the queen of R& B came after an almost unbearable build-up when she emerged in silhouette out of a thick cloud of dry ice.
In a gold leotard, stilettos and mane of billowing hair, she stood simply surveying the sea of fans before her before plunging into high octane Crazy In Love, in soaring voice and battery-powered shimmy. She powered through the Arabian-tinged Naughty Girl from Dangerously in Love and the brilliant Get Me Bodied. Tossing her head this way and that, she stalked and kicked her way around the stage with a huge sequinned bow accentuating her famous booty.
Then a billowing white robe against a screen of crashing waves and the strains of Smash Into You we were introduced to... well - whoever Sasha Fierce's opposite number is. Sasha Softie? Anyway I'm less of a fan of hers. She's more given to Leona-style power ballads than the blistering bootyshakers of B'Day. Audience reaction veered from need-anambulance hysteria to just euphoric.
In Ego an on-screen Beyonce flipped a coin with her own head on both sides. Who was she going to emerge as, Katie Price or Jor... Oops. Happily, she eventually emerged as a leopard robot, one of the most fabulous of the costumes.
High camp saved the ballad Angel from becoming too sicklysweet.
When she drifted into Ave Maria, as well as showing off her lung-busting vocal range, it prompted stage hands to rush on and press a huge white feather bridal gown onto her body..
The most jaw-dropping moment of the night was when Beyonce emerged from the floor on a swing pulling a 40ft gold skirt out with her. To the Egyptian-style strains of Baby Boy, she kicked this off and "walked" over the audience.
Pausing only to execute two perfect 360degree twirls on the trapeze, she dropped down on the arena's island to connect with some of the further reaches of the packed, Beyonce-drunk stadium.
Here, voice husky, she joined in with the crowd's ar m waving rendition of Irreplaceable, and smiled with delight just watching them singing her song.
Chat didn't extend much beyond comments of the "hey Liverpool, are you having a good night?" variety, but she was keen to make physical contact, touching hands at every chance she got.
She finished the two hour set with her some of her recent hits.
At Last to a video backdrop of civil rights march videos and President Obama's inaugural ball dance with his wife. Then, the infectious, hand-clapping hit everyone had been waiting for
Single Ladies. A screen showed a montage of You Tube clips of people doing the dance. Even Obama was filmed doing it.
How much bigger can you get than that? Beyonce easily lived up to her reputation. Not just the impressive singing, songwriting and the dancing, but the talent needed to put together such a dazzling, wide ranging arena spectacle..Touching hands every chance she got
Beyonce performing at the Liverpool Echo Arena