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Thousands of fans came out to see Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s first-ever combined tour.

On July 7, thousands of fans made their way through traffic and long M&T Bank Stadium lines to witness the highly-anticipated summer concert, “On The Run,” starring the dynamic duo Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and his wife Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. The first-ever combined tour performed by the Carters delivered an expensive, finely measured, top-shelf production fans would only expect from a Forbes power couple with a corporate sponsorship.

Traffic was at a standstill outside the stadium just minutes before the 8 p.m. show time at 8 o’clock. Frustrated and tardy fans could be heard screaming from inside their cars. Other tardy fans walked calmly into the huge arena, suspecting a later start time, around 9:30 p.m., like the “On The Run” show in Philadelphia. Punctual Bey and Jay followers were ready at 8 p.m., hoping to be the first the see the “Crazy In Love” couple hit the stage.

Pre-concert, fans received this message, “THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE,” across the main screen. Once the show started, it was endless excitement all around the Baltimore arena. The flawless and infallible Jay Z took the stage in a tee shirt with a blazer, with Beyoncé, wearing a usual black leotard. A fishnet facemask worn by Beyoncé’, and a dark autumn hat with shades worn by Jay-Z created the espionage, crime-spree, bank robbing look for the infamous pair, and opened the show.

Thousands of fans came out to see Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s first-ever combined tour.

For more than two hours, the sultry singer and the raunchy rapper took turns performing their individual hits and occasionally teamed for their expected duets. The lyrical selections by Jay Z, 44, included: “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” “Hard Knock Life,” “Ni**as in Paris,” in addition to “Tom Ford,” and “Holy Grail” favorites from Shawn Carter’s 2013 album {Magna Carta Holy Grail}. His biggest hits like “Big Pimpin’” and “99 Problems” made the crowd roar, while his finer moments came through older classics like “Song Cry” and “U Don’t Know.”

The catalogue serenade by Beyoncé’, 32, included “Why Don’t You Love Me,” “Flawless,” “Pretty Hurts,” “If I Were a Boy,” Halo,” “Single Ladies,” and “Upgrade U,” to name a few.

Together, the couple performed “Drunk in Love”, their woozy duet, “Part II,” “’03 Bonnie and Clyde,” “Young Forever,” and such. The show ended with Beyoncé’s black and white American flag print dress cascading along the stage, and a beautiful moment of rare footage showing Jay Z and Beyoncé’ taking “selfies” while on vacation, getting matching tattoos, and playing with daughter, Blue Ivy, 2.

The white text displayed in the beginning, “THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE” seemed vague at first, until the finale. At the close of the video was “The Carters” written in the sand with the ending message: “THIS IS REAL LIFE,” identifying what truly matters to the couple: family.

Ashley D. Diggs

Special to the AFRO