Beyoncé: I Am…Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas

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Posted September 16, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

Diva works intimate stage with two-disc best-of set with hint of Vegas theatrics

Queen B is proving to be the hardest working female in show business. Her knack of encircling strong R&B beats around a glitzy persona worthy of a Madonna gave Beyoncé the transition needed to take her from her humble Destiny’s Child beginnings to the top of the charts. Dangerously in Love, her colorful and strong debut, was welcomed by the masses, but B’Day, soaring from the ante of the #1 single “Irreplaceable,” was the hit Knowles needed to grasp the attention of those who failed to take her serious. In comes 2008’s I Am…Sasha Fierce, a tenacious double-CD split into two different personalities. One perched with her choice of power ballads, the other soaked with her conventional club bangers. And when critics were quick to predict she would astound and wow audiences with her slow gems (“If I Were a Boy,” “Halo”), out comes “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It);” a song that singlehandedly used the remnants of “Got Me Bodied.” Beyoncé-mania exploded and the world became her playground. An international phenomenon exploded from the women’s lib anthem’ earning her a slate of awards, thousands of YouTube re-workings of her popular video and dozens of popular parodies from A-list celebs like Justin Timberlake and the Jonas Brothers. Without showing no signs of slow down, Beyoncé Knowles designs a smart, elaborate show that places her big energy on a much smaller stage on the 2-disc CD/DVD I Am…Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas.

Both discs, following the pattern of Sasha Fierce, separate the ballads from the funky show stoppers, but does a better job in giving fans what they want and giving them a little extra. The first disc opens with acoustic-driven offerings on “Halo” and “Hello” while opening up memorable songs like “Irreplaceable” to more grittier soul and welcoming crowd participation. She nostalgically tosses in an unpredicted revisit to Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love” in her “Sweet Dreams” medley and injects Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know” into her power ballad “If I Were a Boy.” It gives her songs a little more dimension and the show an incredible layout that showcases Knowles as a well-learned student outside of her own craft. And her performances on “Scared of Lonely” and on the slowed-down, fragile arrangement of “Satellites” places her in her most vulnerable state yet while revealing ethereal theatrics worthy of Hollywood’s attention. While the first disc offers up her a pleasurable, good-listening suit for her slow poetic burners, the second set focuses entirely on the high-energy workouts that best documents her road to fame. The set opens with a eleven-minute Destiny’s Child medley, but dissolves way too early with its quick-run throughs and cut-offs. For a live concert, the shifts, along with the narrative loads would have been a natural appetizer but on record, it’s a soggy drainer.. Halfway in, “Crazy In Love” helps rescues the second disc with its big horn blasts and fiery rhythms. “Got Me Bodied” avoids a predictable segue into “Single Ladies,” with the help of a smart lively interlude from MGMT’s “Electric Feel.” When the thumps of the gospel percussion fire up and the crowd starts to get involved, “Single Ladies” becomes the funky elevation we all have anxiously awaited for. Knowles also tries out a neat trick using Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” on the last minutes of the charming vamp.

While it may have been a bit more efficient if Beyoncé assembled the better of both halfs unto one CD or even offered up a few more arrangements to her familiar discography, I Am…Yours remains an attractive live set that boasts her incredible line-up of hits and gives her devout fans something additional to rave over. It surely proves, if ever assembled, that an adequate “greatest hits” collection from Beyoncé would certainly be in need of two discs.

J MATTHEW COBB

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HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 23 Nov 2009
  • Label: Music World/Columbia
  • Producers: Beyoncé Knowles, Emer Patten
  • Track Favs: Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It), Sweet Dreams Medley, Scared of Lonely, Irreplaceable


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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