I was touched on April 26, by a higher power. Gelatinous booty shaking has thus far escaped me because a) I’m not terrifically coordinated and b) there isn’t much call for that sort of thing in my lounge room (where most of my other dancing takes place).
But lo, did the power of Destiny’s Child compel me, and as such I found myself mastering that provocative slack-muscled arse shimmy for one brief but glorious moment. I was so excited that I continued, as one quiet jiggler in an audience of thousands, to shake my booty even during the ballads (which frankly, needed some accoutrement). I have tried since, but me and my fat arse are no longer working together. Presumably because Beyonce is no longer here to guide us.
Me and my similarly religious Video Hits–watching companion skipped the support acts – Mario and Shakaya being the exact kind of dismissible low-grade R’n’B pap that taints the excellent work Destiny’s Child have done – but arrived in time to appreciate the pre-act cultural control Big Brothered out to the moist, squealing, girly masses who bulked Rod Laver Arena.
In between ads for make-up and hair dye, projected onto two stadium-sized screens, we were treated (somewhat randomly, I gotta say) to a montage of famous faces, resulting in a kind of scream-o-meter that schooled me on which celebrities are down with the kids these days (FYI: Orlando Bloom is hot, Leonardo DiCaprio is not). Between these early vocal exercises and the Mexican wave that developed organically in the Lower D section, the first ladies of funk were looking at a crowd energised for the party as only those untainted by drug and alcohol experiences can be. B’s Christian mamma would have smiled.
When Destiny’s Child finally graced us, with Elvis-style, Messianic classical overtones, I almost popped a blood vessel in my brain. The crowd was on their feet before Say My Name could explode out of their mouths, roaring pre-teen worship and drinking in the variations-on-a-theme sequin-fest that was the first of many questionable costumes designed by Knowles’ mother. Burning through their early chart toppers Jumpin Jumpin, No No No and Bills Bills Bills (seriously seriously), the ladies proved first up that even in Poptasia, you don’t need high production values when you can actually sing. And to clarify, these women can sing (well, Kelly and B can sing, anyway).
Vocal filler padded out the harmonies, but the lead tracks were all live, all throb and all control. And MY SWEET LORD, is Beyonce a golden goddess whose ass just won’t quit. I mean beautiful like it might give you stomach cramps.
The hit parade marched through Soldier, Lose My Breath, Bootylicious and the mawkish femme-fest of Girl, but the crowd were all baited-breath for the solo slots, which didn’t disappoint – because fuck me if we weren’t all there to see Crazy in Love. We had to suffer through Michelle Williams’ gospel caterwauling, turn a deaf ear to the rampant masochistic misogyny of DC’s Cater for You and pretend we couldn’t see Kelly fighting to be seen around Beyonce’s hair-extensions, but god damn it if the place didn’t explode when B got her groove on and Crazy came. Absolutely freakin spectacular.