Beyoncé, Jay-Z and a Wee Trip to Glasgow
A few months ago my big sister, Isabelle, rang me up and asked what I was doing June 28th.
“I have class, why?”
“Argh, I wanted to get you tickets to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s OTR II tour as an early graduation present, and that’s the day they are in Berlin” (Izzy lives in Berlin). We went to the first OTR tour, and outside of that I’ve seen Beyoncé’s “I am…” tour and the “Lemonade” tour twice. There was no way I was missing the second act of their infamous On The Run tour.
I suggested London June 16th, but Izzy has a high school reunion. I suggested Copenhagen June 23rd, but we have a wedding to go to. So there was nothing left to do but close our eyes and randomly pick a European city. And that is how my first trip to Scotland was chosen.
I’ve met a lot of people along the way who spent their bachelor days in Glasgow. That’s lucky for me because it meant I was armed with a nice list of places to go brunch, lunch, wine and dine. Izzy and I both landed five minutes within each other Friday early afternoon, so we had the afternoon and evening, and most of Saturday to experience Glasgow before watching Mr. and Mrs. Carter in action.
We strolled up and down Buchanan street, the main shopping area, browsing stores and enjoying an array of eclectic street performers. Glasgow is a cute city, with lots of old buildings. It reminded me of a miniature version of London but with less stress and more smiley people.
For dinner, we headed to one of the recommended restaurants: Ubiquitous Chip. It’s located on a cute cobble road with pubs buzzing around it. We ate in their brasserie located inside a courtyard with a top floor. Light streamed in giving a nice open airy feel; which is a feat because we were squeezed into a balcony corner and we were somewhat oblivious to it. The service was exceptional, and the food created a party for the tastebuds . Being a full-bodied wine enthusiast, I chose a wine that was described as being a sister of an Amarone; and they weren’t kidding. The flavours burst with lushness and smokiness. I highly recommend this place if you visit Glasgow, it is worth your while.
OTR II Day
Before heading to the concert, Izzy and I had a chance to get historical. We wondered up to Glasgow Cathedral and the necropolis. When school events and parents dragged me to museums and historical sites as a kid, I worried that I would never find them fascintating, just like I was worried I’d never like salad. But alas, I grew into it, and the cathedral was absolutely stunning. I marvel at the idea that people were able to build such huge buildings without the likes of the technology we have today. Once we’d admired the architecture and stain-glass windows we walked to the necropolis. Izzy was having a wine hangover and wasn’t in the mood to hike up the hill to the necropolis, but I used neuro linguistic language techniques on her to make her go; it went something like this “stop being lazy”. She was a trooper and went up with me, and it was completely worth it. The tombstones are amazing and so is the view. We were also spoiled with sunny weather which made the experience even better.
The concert was set to start at 8pm, so we had an early dinner and headed over to Hampden park for 7pm. It’s worth knowing Izzy and I were military like in our preparation for this show, and here’s why: For the first OTR tour, the only European city they came to was Paris, where they performed two nights in a row. Izzy and I got early-entry tickets for the very last show. After a wreckless taxi ride, we arrived at the stadium at 4:30pm. We were let in at 5:30pm where we rushed to the front of the stage. The show was scheduled to start at 7pm, but they first got on at 9:30pm. Two hours later the show ended, and Izzy and I were unable to get a taxi, so we ended up walking for 1.5 hours back to the hotel in heels (block heels, but still, heels) before a taxi took pity on us. Needless to say, we got seats this time so we wouldn’t have to get there in good time, and we left early to make sure we got a taxi.
It was madness at Hampden park, there was a queue no matter where you went; Izzy and I stood in line for exactly 30 minutes to get a drink. We got to our seats a little past 8pm, and at 8:28pm, the show started.
Like all the other times I’ve seen Beyoncé perform, it was nothing short of spectacular. Jay-Z and her entered the stage via an elevator and opened with the song Holy Grail, with Queen B singing the part originally sung by Justin Timberlake. They then went onto Part II (On The Run). Like the first OTR tour, I feel like this is the song that captures the essence of the show; two lovers in it together no matter what the cost. Their background videos playing when they weren’t on stage; transmitted this message well. Beautiful cinematography showed them running towards each other on a beach, on a corn field, lying in bed doing crosswords half naked, or Beyoncé dancing sultrily in chaps while Jay-Z lay on a bed covered in dollar bills, puffing away on a cigar. As they put it themselves, “The Queen and the Gangster”.
The couple performed many of their hits at full-length, but executed the delicate dance of fusing songs together very well. While Beyoncé changed outfits, Jay-Z would dominate the stage, and vice versa. There was not a moment where the audience was left to yawn or think about anything else other than the music being performed in front of them. Many will have seen videos of Beyoncé’s performance at Coachella (now aptly named Beychella) and she performed some of those, now infamous, moves. For example, for the song Sorry, “suck on my balls”, was roared repetitively while she danced to it tribally. This exact performance was also with in this show, and proved a real crowd pleaser. If you look at Instagram videos, you can practically hear the author of the content crying “I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT TO SEE THIS AAAAGGGHH”. Other major crowd pleasers from Beyoncé included Run The World (Girls) which saw the stage rise and transport her across the standing audience. Similarly, this also happened for Jay-Z’s monster hit N****s in Paris. In fact, after the first verse of, he stopped everything and started again to give the crowd an encore of the intro, and everyone went insane all over again. Beyoncé’s other thrill inducing performance was Formation. The Lemonade tour made the wide hat she wears for this performance, iconic, and she came in wearing it in a latex version and matching bodycon suit. For Flawless, the word “FEMINIST” blazed across the screen; it did this too for the first OTR show and during her lemonade tour.
There were many similarities between the first OTR show and the Lemonade Tour, so I wasn’t as awe struck as the other times. However, I was completely immersed in the experience. As a singer-songwriter myself, there is so much you can learn from these two supernaturally gifted artists. From lyrical content, production, performance and the aesthetics of a show, their execution is impeccable. I’ll continue to go to as many of their concerts as I can, because it really is a treat for all of the senses. I will however, probably continue to leave two songs before it’s all over so that I can sit in a cab and reminisce in a relaxed manner about the showmanship I’ve just witnessed.
If you ever get the chance to see these two perform, DO IT.
After the Show I was hungry. Izzy and I ordered deliveroo to the hotel and sat watching some car crash TV before slipping off into sleep.
The next day our flights were first at 14:15 and 14:20 so we had time for one more brunch place before heading back to London and Berlin. We settled on The Wilson Street Pantry. On our way there we passed the beauty clinic La Belle Forme, which I recognised from Scottish makeup artist Jamie Genevieve’s Vlogs and social media accounts. I silently squealed inside, because I’m such a fan girl – if you read my product reviews you’ll have noticed I’ve referenced her a few times.
The brunch place was cute with simple tables and an open kitchen and I had one of the best soya lattes I’ve ever had. For food, I had smoked salmon and avocado on sourdough toast. When they placed the plate in front of me I stared at it in disappointment. One piece of sourdough toast had smoked salmon lazily placed on half of it. The other piece had avocado on, and the toast looked so dry. We asked if I could have some butter or oil and they came with the lemon oil that was drizzled onto the avocado. If you need a food version of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” this is it. It was amazing and I’m still dreaming of it. My trip to Glasgow, ended on a very good note.