Jay-Z joins Beyonce show in London
- 1 March 2014
- From the section Entertainment & Arts
Beyonce was joined on stage by husband Jay-Z as she took her Mrs Carter world tour to London for the second time.
The couple duetted on Drunk In Love, an explicit ballad that drew complaints from viewers when they performed it at last month's Grammy Awards.
They shared a lingering hug as the song ended, leaving Beyonce to finish the remainder of her two-hour set solo.
The Mrs Carter Show was last year's second highest-earning tour behind Bon Jovi, earning just over $188m (£112m).
It first came to the UK in April 2013 and was supposed to promote a new album. However the record remained unfinished until December, when it was finally released, without warning, on iTunes.
The stealth strategy paid off, with the self-titled, x-rated record selling almost a million copies in 24 hours and earning the pop star the best reviews of her career.
The tour has since been overhauled and, by Friday's date at London's O2 Arena, a third of the set list was culled from the album, with a raunchy sequence in the middle of the show featuring the album's most explicit tracks Blow, Partition and Drunk In Love.
But the star, who employs an 11 piece all-female band, also made a virtue of her feminist credentials.
After opening with the empowerment anthem Run The World (Girls), she segued into the defiant album cut Flawless, which quotes author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's talk We Should All Be Feminists.
The star's show makes extensive use of back-lit silhouettes, pyrotechnics and a mobile, stage-wide video screen.
During an intricately choreographed Baby Mama, Beyonce and her dancers appeared to emerge from, disappear into and interact with pre-filmed graphics, a neat illusion she first pulled off at the 2011 Billboard Awards.
Before settling into a groove, the star's show flitted restlessly between fragments of songs and video clips.
Even towards the climax, her signature song, Crazy In Love, was dispensed with in under a minute before giving way to another musical interlude.
Beyonce's sheer stage presence held the show together, whether she was commanding her band to turn on a pinhead or engaging the audience in a sing-along during Irreplaceable.
And her new material showcases an unparalleled variety of vocal styles, ranges and phrasing, from the hushed and sultry Haunted to the urban swagger of Yonce.
As the show drew to a close, she recalled that she had first played London with Destiny's Child in 1997 and picked out a few familiar faces who had been coming to her shows since.
"I'm so honoured to be here again," she said. "Thank you guys for having me. Thank you for saving up money to come to the show, for waiting in line and making such a beautiful sound."