THE REVIEW from the Los Angeles Times begins with a sentence that says it all.
Who booked all the amateur acts to open for Beyoncé?
Beyoncé shows what artistry is ultimately about, revealing yourself completely while doing what you do, ignoring all else but your message.
Photo of the night (Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/JtApjapGIs
— ArtsMic (@ArtsMic) August 25, 2014
Yet even that surprising move had only a fraction of the gravitas that Beyoncé brought to her grand finale. A sort of rapid-fire digest of her portion of the shared stadium tour she’s on with Jay Z, the performance pulled from all manner of sounds and styles, juxtaposing harsh electronic beats and rubbery neo-soul bass, staccato hip-hop rhythms and sweeping vocal melodies. It had dancing that was equally expansive, with severe head-snapping choreography giving way to the singer’s writhing on a pole. And then there was Beyoncé’s bedazzled leotard, a costume at once flashier and more refined than anybody else’s on Sunday.
The show business was, as one of her songs put it, flawless. But what really set her apart was the lifelike range of feeling she was using all that technique to put across. A lover’s sexual hunger, a mother’s tender devotion, a feminist’s impatience with small minds — Beyoncé embodied them all in a way that made the rest of the VMAs feel brittle and one-dimensional.
“I’m so full,” she said as she embraced her family and soaked in the crowd’s adulation. You can add self-knowledge to her list of attributes.