Photo Credits: Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment
Global icon Beyoncé returned to her hometown on September 15th and 16th for the Houston leg of her OTR II concert tour co-headlined with her hubby, rapper Jay-Z. The dynamic duo were not the only ones who graced the NRG Stadium stage, however. The opening act kicked off at 7:30 pm with budding starlets Chloe x Halle, 20 and 18-year-old sisters respectively, who previously served as Beyoncé’s opening act for the European leg of The Formation World Tour. Chloe x Halle’s rise to prominence started after winning Radio Disney’s “Next BIG Thing” competition, which led to YouTube fame with song covers that eventually caught the ear of Beyoncé and Parkwood Entertainment. They are now mentored by the superstar singer and represented by her powerhouse publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure.
A set from Grammy-nominated DJ Khaled followed bringing the gradually-filling stadium to its feet with a set list of popular club bangers like “For Free” featuring Drake mixed in with classic hits such as 2001’s “Poison” by BBD. The real treat for Houston fans, however, was a revolving door of surprise appearances by local rap legends, including Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Trae Tha Truth, Lil’ KeKe, and Bun B. The opening acts also featured guest appearances from new artists Yella Beezy and Puffy’s son King Combs.
2014’s On the Run Tour was the fifth highest-grossing tour of 2014, according to Pollstar’s annual year-end tour chart, garnering more than $100 million in ticket sales. The philanthropic couple shared the wealth on Sunday by surprising 17-year-old Galveston student Alezae Uresti with a $100,000 scholarship through the BeyGOOD and Shawn Carter Foundations. Cameras panned to her shocked face as DJ Khaled announced the news over the mic.
Concert-goers were warmed up and ready by the time the lights dimmed and Bey and Jay emerged on the stage holding hands and donned in all white. Bey kicked off the concert with the lyrics to “Holy Grail” sending the crowd into a frenzy. Video montages shown on screens in back of the pair revealed intimate scenes of the couple in bed, on the beach and even holding two infants (no, sources confirm they were not the couple’s real-life twins Rumi and Sir), spliced with quotes like “The Chase” and “The Love Story” set to ethereal music. OTR II was Bey and Jay’s love letter to one another set to music.
Andrew White/Parkwood/PictureGroup | Photo Caption: Beyoncé and Jay-Z OTR II Tour at NRG
As the show went on, they entertained the crowd with favorites like “03 Bonnie and Clyde” circa when their relationship was newly cementing, and they also performed their hits separately. Jay-Z performed Big Pimpin’ sans the surviving UGK member Bun B who was present for the opening act. Most songs were uptempo, so when Bey sat down on the end of the stage and belted out “Resentment” it was her intimate moment with fans and a palpable change of pace before the beat dropped and everyone was up dancing again. The production value of the concert was flawless with a mix of smoke wafting, pyrotechnics blasting, dancers gyrating, countless outfit changes and live musicians stacked on grids from the bottom to the top of the stage.
After a full set of some of their most popular songs, the powerhouse couple closed out the concert near midnight with “APES**T” (you can fill in the rest), to an exhausted but satisfied crowd who after five hours on their feet dancing and singing along to every word won’t be running anywhere anytime soon. Job well done Carters. See you for OTR III!