Beyoncé, 02 Arena, London

4.00

Diva who answers the call of booty

There are ways to start a show and ways to start a show. And then there's the Beyoncé way. Almost entirely obscured by smoke, she stalks out alone on to the vast arena stage and strikes a pose in silhouette. The lights go up and there she shimmers – in spangly gold leotard and stilettos, her leonine locks blowing in a breeze that follows her, and only her, wherever she moves. The extraordinary ensemble is topped (or should that be bottomed) off by the most enormous gold-sequined bow on her ever-undulating booty. She's joined by two dancers in PVC catsuits and a sassy all-female band who, to hysterical whoops from the crowd, push out the opening horn blasts of "Crazy in Love", Beyoncé's brassiest and most joyous tune and one of the finest pop songs of the last decade. A couple more PVC-clad dancers emerge, canons on either side of the stage puff clouds of glitter out over the crowd – and we're off.

It's a bold move to open a show with your best song, but then the 27-year-old Texan diva can afford to be bold. In the last six months alone, she has scored her highest-selling UK single with "If I Were a Boy", sung for the First Couple at Barack Obama's inauguration and spawned an internet dance sensation with "Single Ladies" (the show's climax, introduced by a hilarious montage of YouTube tributes). Tonight, whether it's the power balladry of "Listen", the dancehall grind of "Baby Boy" or the electro hook of "Diva", she sings her heart out. This is an astonishingly high-energy show, the ambitious choreography barely grazing her perfect, lung-busting vocals which run from caramel smooth to honeyed foghorn.

This tour is linked to her third solo release, I Am... Sasha Fierce, a two-disc concept album divided into her usual R&B fare and dancier, dirtier electro-tinged tunes. The latter encapsulate her on-stage alter-ego, Sasha Fierce – who on tonight's evidence looks just like Beyoncé, only with more make-up, directional hair and a better sense of humour. In fact, the show's generous run of around 30 songs introduces us to any number of different Beyoncés – showgirl, balladeer, feminist, rock chick, gangster queen, cyborg – via off-stage costume changes and a leotard for every mood, including one which looks like the front end of a Harley-Davidson, complete with flashing headlamps.

After an exhilarating start, the show divides into an evening of two halves – just like B herself. An early run of album tracks are impressively executed but aren't as strong as her older material or the singles. And there's an exceedingly odd segment when Beyoncé morphs into a bridal monster in gravity-defying crinoline and veil and sings "Ave Maria" in an operatic soprano. The pace picks up again with "If I Were a Boy", for which Beyoncé dons Ray Bans and a leather breastplate to whip up a quasi-feminist singalong.

These free, communal moments are the best of the night. With little interaction for the first hour, watching Beyoncé sing and strut her stuff can feel at best overawing, at worst, alienating. She takes her role as entertainer so seriously she's almost too good.

It's down to a man in trunks to bang a gong and herald the second, better half. Beyoncé floats into the air on a swing, and flies over the crowd, turning somersaults on the way, before landing on a stage in the middle of the arena. From there, she leads the audience in the "to the left, to the left" chorus of "Irreplaceable" and launches into a roof-raising Destiny's Child medley.

She finishes with the big hitters – Etta James's "At Last", accompanied by Obama footage (prompting the biggest cheer of the night), an uplifting "Listen" from Dreamgirls, a tireless "Single Ladies" and a sweeping encore of "Halo". It's a neat encapsulation of all her many facets. Truly, a diva for every occasion.

Touring to 9 June

Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map