Every few years, Australia gets blue balls for Queen Beyoncé.
The build up is painful. For one, tickets are sold out in minutes, with many fans having to dig deep in their pockets to buy expensive tickets off scalpers. Secondly, competitions to meet/worship Bee pop up, with broke fans desperately devoting hours in the hope they’ll score. Lastly, for those lucky enough to have gotten their hands on a golden ticket, the fight to get as close as possible to Mrs. Carter became a strategy of physical endurance, strength and devotion.
My story begins at 7am on Monday, October 22, 2013.
Melbournians were proud to be hosting Australia’s opening show for The Mrs. Carter World Tour. My friends camped outside Rod Laver Arena. We’d forked out extra for Early Access passes and wanted to ensure we were as far in front as possible. After hours of waiting in the rain, they’d gotten their entry numbers and took a break to do things like eat/go to the toilet (I’d join them later, as you’ll see).
Australia was buzzing with Bee Fever! She’d made front page news and Melbourne fans were quite literally losing their shit. They’d gone crazy over a sighting of Beyoncé in Brunswick, a multicultural and iconic suburb otherwise known for kebabs and old immigrant grandparents. Meme-makers went into overdrive. Fans flocked to Bleith Street hoping to catch a glimpse. Later at Crown Casino, crowds waited patiently to catch a sighting of the Queen leaving her hotel. It so happened she walked straight past my very own (oblivious) brother, who said, “Whoa! Hello.” Bee smiled coyly, leaning back to reply, “Whoa. Hi.”
I finished work early and rushed to the arena ASAP. By 5pm, the lines were huge. I weaved my way through the Early Access line towards my friends. News crews surrounded the place while die-hard fans draped their ponchos over hand-made posters, soaked by the rain. After a couple more hours of waiting, the early entry people were guided backstage.
We were given clear instructions: “At no point must you run.” Guided by a pack of security guards, they led us to the stage. Buzzing with suspense, we walked briskly, avoiding a running pace in case we got in trouble and were kicked out. That was until the people behind us bolted toward the barriers. Not going to miss my chance of getting front row I ran, leaping over a girl who’d stacked it and face-planted the barrier. I elbowed another chick out of the way and firmly clasped the barrier with two hands, marking my territory. Within the next five minutes, I had the weight of two hundred people pressing against me. I prayed my ribs weren’t my Achilles Heel.
One of the perks of being a 6 foot tall woman is you usually have a pretty good view at concerts. Just off the middle in the front row, I couldn’t have asked for better. The con, however, is everybody behind you unanimously hates you. Within 30 minutes, I had three people ask me if I could move. Naturally I said, “Farkkkk off!” Bitching behind me, I wasn’t worried because another perk is no one actually tries to start anything when you’ve got an extra foot and tens of kilos on them. Fast forward hours of lower back pain and an amazing sci-fi goddess inspired performance from Australia’s very own Iggy Azalea, the audience was buzzing with anticipation.
A huge gasp was felt throughout the whole audience when the lights dimmed and the opening video began playing. Dancers emerged on stage. Fireworks went off. Beyoncé popped up from under the stage. The screams were phenomenal.
Literally five meters away, I couldn’t contain myself. Her focus was unparalleled as she stared into the audience like a fierce (be[e]autiful) beast. Opening up with “Girls (Who Run The World)” she danced and sung like I’ve never witnessed before. On either of her side were Les Twins, an eye-boggling hip-hop dance duo. Everything was perfect. Zero errors. As such, I won’t give you a blow-by-blow of the performance. Words won’t do it justice. Just know I concur with hubby Hov:
And that this was my view:
And that after hours of waiting outside, my close family friends (six siblings; the youngest girl named “Beyoncé” by the second-youngest girl back in 2004) had a handmade sign that said: “My Sister’s Name Is Beyoncé”—WHICH WAS ACKNOWLEDGED BY THE QUEEN MID-CONCERT:
And that said eldest sister was personally delivered a towel with Beyoncé’s sweat by a crew-member who felt she was a deserving fan, on account of her epic screaming:
Sore ribs. Dry bank account. As Beyoncé says, “Because you’re worth it.”