I Am... World Tour

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For the DVD/CD concert film, see I Am... World Tour (album).
I Am... World Tour
Beyonce iamtour.jpg
World tour by Beyoncé
Associated album I Am... Sasha Fierce
Start date March 26, 2009
End date February 18, 2010
Legs 6
Shows 1 in Africa
12 in Asia
47 in Europe
32 in North America
7 in Oceania
9 in South America
108 Total
Box office $119.5 million ($129.24 in 2014 dollars)[1]
Beyoncé concert chronology
The Beyoncé Experience
(2007)
I Am... World Tour
(2009–10)
I Am... Yours
(2009)

I Am... World Tour (sometimes referred to as the I Am... Tour) was the fourth concert tour by American recording artist Beyoncé. It was launched in support of her third studio album, I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008). The tour was announced in October 2008 and the first dates were revealed in December 2008. It kicked off in late-March 2009 with five rehearsal shows in North America, officially commencing in late April 2009. The tour visited the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia with 108 shows in total. Preparations for the shows began eight months prior to the beginning of the tour with twelve-hour rehearsals for two months. Knowles described the shows as her best and most theatrical from all of her tours. Pre-concert food drives were held during several stops of the I Am... World Tour as part of a campaign by General Mills' Hamburger Helper entitled, "Show Your Helping Hand" where fans were asked to bring food during the concerts.

The set list for the concerts included songs from Knowles' three studio albums as well as several covers of other artists and a Destiny's Child medley. The central theme of the tour was to showcase the difference between Knowles' dual personality; her emotional side and her onstage persona, Sasha Fierce which was also demonstrated in the dual album I Am... Sasha Fierce. The show featured two stages - the main one and a smaller B-stage where Knowles was transferred during the middle of the show. She was backed by an all-female band, female background dancers and a big LED screen. Thierry Mugler collaborated with Knowles on the costumes and had a creative advisor role further working on the choreography, lighting and production. Chris March made the costumes usable for stage and helped in their making. For the ballads, Knowles wore longer dresses while for the performances of the up-tempo songs, more make-up and more revealing outfits were worn. The fashion and Knowles' look and figure received praise from critics.

I Am... World Tour received critical acclaim from music critics who praised Knowles' performance abilities calling her the best female performer and chose the performances of "Ave Maria", "Listen" and "At Last" as highlights during the shows. A concert in Malaysia was cancelled by Knowles after several Muslim groups tried to ban it although she agreed to tone down her look according to the country's standards. The tour was commercially successful grossing $119.5 million from 108 shows in total. Separate performances of several songs were broadcast on different channels and two concerts were released as live albums; the live performance at the I Am... Yours revue was released in a CD/DVD format in 2009 and footage of the tour was released on an eponymous titled live album in 2010.

Background[edit]

Knowles performing "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (left) and "Diva" (right) during the I Am... World Tour while being backed by dancers. Both songs were part of the Sasha Fierce disc on the double album I Am... Sasha Fierce which was dedicated to her eponymous alter ego.

In 2006, during an interview with MTV News, Knowles talked about her more aggressive stage persona, Sasha Fierce. She said: "I absolutely get scared every time I get on the stage. I get nervous. I'm actually really scared when I'm not nervous because then I don't transform into that person that people are used to seeing."[2] She added that in real life, she was nothing like the person people see in her videos and performances: "I'm really more quiet, reserved. I speak when spoken to and polite. When I'm onstage, I'm aggressive, I'm strong, I'm fearless."[2] Knowles' third album I Am... Sasha Fierce formally introduced Sasha Fierce as her alter ego; she revealed that Sasha was born during the making of her single "Crazy in Love" (2003). In an interview with People magazine, Knowles affirmed that her alter ego is strictly for the stage and Sasha Fierce was further described as the singer's sensual, aggressive alter ego.[3] In October 2008, Billboard magazine reported that Knowles would go on tour in the spring of 2009 to support her third studio album.[4] Beyoncé's father and manager Mathew Knowles revealed that it would visit different countries worldwide.[5] The tour dates for the European leg were announced in December 2008. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Knowles confirmed that she was excited about the tour and that she would be backed by her all-female band which also accompanied her during her previous tour The Beyoncé Experience (2007). She also stated that she worked on the tour for eight months, rehearsing and trying to put the set list together.[6] Knowles further revealed that the twelve-hour rehearsals for the tour included dancing the choreography in heels for two months before it commenced.[7] She also added that she learnt to make transition from herself to Sasha Fierce really fast for the performances.[7] Knowles further acknowledged that I Am... World Tour was a huge production and that she was proud of the theatrical show she created.[8] She said that it was a mixture of everything she loved: "I tried to bring jazz and hip-hop, and ballet and fashion, and everything together... It is the best thing I've done as far as my tours go."[9]

The tour kicked off in late-March 2009 with five rehearsal shows in North America and it officially commenced in late April 2009, at Arena Zagreb in Croatia later visiting the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.[5][10][11] Nearly eight months after the release of I Am ... Sasha Fierce, Knowles brought the tour in support of the album to North America. Pre-sale tickets for members of her fan club were available on April 20, 2009 and general public sales began on April 25, 2009. The six-week North American leg of the I Am... World Tour kicked off on June 21 with a show at Madison Square Garden in New York and finished with a four-night residency at Encore in the Wynn Las Vegas from July 30, 2009 to August 2, 2009.[12] The tour finished with a concert at Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, with 108 shows in total. Knowles and her organization, The Survivor Foundation, became the spokesperson for General Mills' Hamburger Helper campaign entitled, "Show Your Helping Hand".[13] The campaign's mission was to provide more than 3.5 million meals to local food banks in North America.[14] Knowles encouraged spectators to bring non-perishable foods to her North American concerts to be donated to the campaign.[13] According to the campaign's official website, nearly three millions meals and over $50,000 have been donated.

Development[edit]

Knowles performing "Smash Into You" (left) and "Halo" (right) during a stop of the I Am... World Tour at The O2 Arena in London. The performances saw her singing the songs on a staircase which was the largest piece of equipment on stage.

During an interview with the Associated Press, Knowles said that one of the hardest parts of the tour was "squeezing a decade's worth of hits into a two-hour show" and performing the songs in designer Thierry Mugler's "elaborate" costumes.[12] She elaborated: "I'm never gonna go onstage or do a video and not work until my feet are blistered, and until I'm basically, I can't walk any more. I always give, and I do that because I know how lucky I am, to do my job."[12] She also promised that the tour would be more emotional than The Beyoncé Experience because of the "real[,] raw and more sensitive" nature of the I Am... portion of the double album.[12] Knowles also expressed frustration that snippets of the show appeared online after the first shows on the opening leg, "ruining" some of the surprise of the concert experience and possibly convincing some fans not to attend. She went on saying: "It's great because people can get a little sneak peek and say, 'Oh, I wanna come to the show,' or, 'I don't wanna go to that show'... and I'm fans of people so I go on there and check it out too. But you put so much of your heart and time into the wardrobe... it's kind of unfortunate that people can see the show months before you get into their city, but that's life."[12] French designer Thierry Mugler collaborated with Knowles on the wardrobe and had a creative advisor role, as he also contributed to designing the whole show, from lighting to choreography, production and directing three sequences for the concert.[10][15] As a creative advisor, Mugler stated about the show:

"[The message that we wanted to get across to Knowles' fans was] The sense of mise-en-scène or using everything we get, like technology, lights, sets and costumes in order to sublimate the emotions and energy that we share and want to share with others. It was my responsibility to make Beyoncé's vision come true. There will be a lot of dramatization and metamorphosis on stage. Some very strong effects have been inspired directly by Beyoncé, and only she could make [them] happen on stage. I also was the AD [assistant director] for the Diva video shot especially for the show. I also gave input for various visual and creative aspects of the show."[16][17]

Onstage, Knowles was backed by her ten-piece all-female band, Suga Mama, which included two drummers, two keyboardists, a percussionist, a horn section, three backup vocalists called the Mamas, and a lead guitarist.[18][19] The show used two stages. A simple main stage included a pop up set of stairs, a big LED background screen, and glass risers for Suga Mama and The Mamas. A smaller B-stage in the middle of the crowd was used for Knowles' later performances. The show included six costume changes during which her trio of background singers sang over "lush" harmonies.[20][21] The set list included songs from Knowles' three studio albums, a Destiny's Child medley and several covers of other artists, as well as "Listen" originally recorded for the soundtrack of the film Dreamgirls.[22] Several critics noted that the songs on the set list were divided into ballads and more up-tempo songs to coincide with the central theme of I Am... Sasha Fierce - the dual personality of Knowles. During the performances of the ballads, she wore longer dresses with white colors while for the performances for the uptempo songs, she had more make-up and revealing outfits.[23] Ben Ratliff of The New York Times further noted "the unwieldy mother concept of the tour [is]: the duality of well-meaning good girl and rapacious animal-robot-dance-titan."[19] Jay Lustig of The Star-Ledger concluded that the album's split personality was reflected in the show naturally enough.[24] However, Barbara Ellen of The Observer wrote, "Another irritant is the much-trumpeted 'duality' nonsense with Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé's alter-ego for her latest album. All 'Sasha' does here is flail about in a video, no different from regular Beyoncé, except for a gold dress and a hairdo that veers dangerously towards Liberace."[25] Similarly, Ann Powers from the Los Angeles Times wrote that the only thing which was not fully realized was the show's "overarching" theme, "Beyonce meant to represent herself as a split personality, tender and open on the one hand, indomitable and rather scary on the other. But Beyonce has chosen the wrong dichotomy to represent herself."[26]

Fashion[edit]

Thierry Mugler design sketches for the wardrobe of the I Am... World Tour. The words "Feminine. Free. Warrior. Fierce" were used as inspiration for the look during the concerts.

After several years of retirement from the fashion industry, French designer Thierry Mugler served as the main costume designer for the tour. Knowles was attracted with his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, "Superheroes, Fashion and Fantasy" (2008), where several of his haute couture pieces were on display.[15] Knowles immediately fell in love with the costumes and wanted to use them on her tour after her mother and designer Tina Knowles influenced her decision.[16] She met with Mugler in Paris in September and started exchanging ideas with him, further designing costumes which were inspired by her love of music and life.[16] She hired him as the designer for the tour costumes in November, 2008.[27] Speaking about her collaboration, Knowles said, "The best part about this tour is I'm working with Thierry Mugler, who is an icon and a legend, and I've been a fan."[12] Mugler wanted to capture the duality between being a woman and a warrior and understand these two sides with [his] own perception of both aspects while creating the costumes for Knowles and using the words "Feminine. Free. Warrior. Fierce" as inspiration.[17] He felt, "Sasha Fierce is another aspect of Beyoncé's personality, she is Fierce on stage and Beyoncé in real life... Beyoncé is a very sophisticated 'stage animal', which means that she is truly instinctive. Beyoncé expresses herself through the two aspects of her personality. On stage, there is Sasha Fierce and there is Beyoncé in her truest self."[16] He described the costumes as "very elaborate" and rooted in the songs' meanings.[17] He conducted a 71-piece wardrobe for Knowles, her dancers and the band for the tour. For the shows, Knowles had ten different looks which were noted to be "fierce" as her onstage alter ego. She wore "ferocious power-glam superheroine outfits for a one-two punch of femininity and fierceness".[16] American fashion designer Chris March also collaborated with Knowles during the tour helping Mugler in the process of creating the costumes and making them usable for stage purposes as his expertise was execution of outfits. On July 23, 2009, March filled a lawsuit against Mugler for allegedly not paying him for the work he did on the wardrobe.[27][28] Knowles' look captured a duality of soft and hard, combining bows with metal and incorporating fishnets, mismatched gloves and power shoulders into costumes that mirror Knowles' lyrics about "all the single women" femme fatales and power brokers in a "high-tech Blade Runner world" as stated by Michael Quintanilla of San Antonio Express-News.[16] Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone magazine noted that the wardrobe designs consisted of a variety of gold sparkly leotards, all form-fitting, light-reflecting and leg-baring.[29] Knowles also wore leopard-print pants and glow-in-the-dark bra with a blinking beacon affixed to her body.[30] Joanna Horowitz of The Seattle Times wrote that the singer donned a series of curve-hugging leotards and mile-high stilettos, which were revealing her legs.[22]

The fashion and wardrobe during the shows received praise from critics. Randall King of the Winnipeg Free Press praised the little designs noting that they were suitable for films and compared them with something fashion designer Bob Mackie might have designed for a space movie in the 1970s.[18] Alice Jones of The Independent noted that the "extraordinary" ensemble which Knowles wears during the opening of the show is "topped off by the most enormous gold-sequined bow on her ever-undulating booty".[31] She further noted that Knowles' alter ego looked just like her only with more make-up and noted, "[the set list of] 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."[31] Kathy McCabe of The Daily Telegraph noted that the shows featured "some of the most elaborate and revealing costumes of her career" and further described the corsets as "jaw-dropping".[32] Tamara Hardingham-Gill of the Daily Mail commented that the number of costume changes during the show "only added to the magic of the evening".[33] Donna MCconnel of the same publication noted that a "dramatic" gold jewelled metal corset with built-in curve worn during the concerts drew "even more attention to her famous figure".[34] Another writer of Daily Mail wrote that Knowles' outfits "became increasingly outlandish - part Roman goddess, part WWF wrestler".[35] A writer of Evening Chronicle wrote, "Her costumes were as sparkling as her personality. From NYPD cop to bride to Wonderwoman and beyond, the outfits showed off every inch of her perfectly toned body."[36] Holly Burnes of The Daily Telegraph also praised the fashion writing that the wardrobe included "one incredible costume after another _ from a Mad Max look that would have had Mel Gibson on his knees, to an angelic wedding dress for a rendition of Ave Maria guaranteed to have raised the sails of the Sydney Opera House."[37] Simon Collins of The West Australian described the costumes as "sexy".[38] Jay Hanna of The Sunday Times noted that Knowles looked like a "goddess" in the "array of spectacular outfits" further praising the crystal encrusted black corset she wore during the performance of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" describing her look as "dazzling".[39] Jim Farber from the Daily News wrote, "The costumes didn't disappoint, including one getup that looked like Barbarella on a safari and another that depicted Beyoncé as an unlikely innocent in white."[40]

Concert synopsis[edit]

Knowles pictured during the opening and the closing sequence of the I Am... World Tour. During the beginning of the concert, she appeared on stage surrounded by smoke and struck a pose in silhouette (left). The final of the show saw Knowles on top of a staircase repeatedly saying "I am", awaiting the crowd to say it back (right).

The show started with Knowles almost entirely obscured by smoke, walking towards the front of the stage and striking a pose in silhouette with only one beam of light illuminating her while singing several lines of "Déjà Vu".[23][29] The lights went up and Knowles was revealed wearing spangly gold leotard and stilettos joined by two dancers in PVC catsuits and an all-female band who started playing the opening horns of "Crazy in Love". More PVC-clad dancers emerged, while canons on either side of the stage puffed clouds of glitter out over the crowd and confetti were also dropped on stage as Knowles sang the song.[24][31] She continued to perform "Naughty Girl" while banks of bright orange lights were displayed on stage.[23] During "Freakum Dress" Knowles bent backwards at her guitarist's feet.[29] She asked the crowd "Are ya'll ready to dance?" and went on singing "Get Me Bodied" wearing a sequin dress while performing dance routines.[21][41] Knowles later emerged atop a giant lighted flight of stairs wearing a white leotard and sang "Smash Into You" - the staircase was the show's biggest piece of equipment.[29] She performed "Ave Maria" in a white dress which was later turned into a bridal dress after a veil was put on her head by the backing dancers. She sand the song with an operatic soprano voice adding an excerpt from Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" and Franz Schubert's Ave Maria".[29][31] She continued on to sing "Broken-Hearted Girl" wearing a white bustier with a sheer, flowing wrap.[21] At the conclusion of the song, outtakes from the music video of "If I Were a Boy" were shown before she appeared to perform the aforementioned song wearing Ray-Bans, a leather breastplate, aviator shades and a bulletproof-looking one-piece further asking the crowd to sing along the track.[21][31] She included an excerpt from Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" and Tupac Shakur's "California Love" while also doing several moves like a male.[29][42][43] A video interlude directed by Melina Matsoukas was shown as excerpts from "Sweet Dreams" was played in the background.[43] The video showed Knowles as a robot further interacting with a cheetah as a mechanical voice intoned Sasha Fierce.[29] This was a short introduction before Knowles performed the electro song "Diva" dressed in a leopard print leotard.[31][41] She appeared at the top of the staircase with her backup dancers behind her while another video interlude showing Knowles singing and dancing at the age of five was shown.[29] She then sang "Radio" while a clip was projected on the screen showing her dancing as a child.[41] "Me, Myself and I" was introduced with a brief speech about female empowerment with Knowles saying "Ladies, we need each other. We need to learn from each other, and we need to empower each other".[29][41] "Ego" and "Hello" were also performed afterwards.[41]

Knowles being lifted with a harness during the performance of "Baby Boy" (left) and transported to a B-stage where she performed several songs near the audience (right).

The show continued with a short medley performed by her backup singers, The Mamas, followed by another video interlude featuring a coin toss between Knowles' emotional side and Sasha Fierce.[24] Knowles then appeared from under the stage after the lights were turned off several times and several dance routines were performed by her dancers.[41] Then a man banged a gong and Knowles appeared on the stage. She was then lifted out of a 20-foot train by a harness and over the audience she performed "Baby Boy" while she high-stepped in slow motion and front-flipped.[19][31] She was then lowered to the B-stage where she finished the song and continued with Dawn Penn's "You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)". A stripped-down version of "Irreplaceable" was sang afterwards and the crowd was asked to sing along the lines "to the left, to the left".[29][31] Knowles then pointed to individual fans describing their look and continued with "Check On It" and a medley of Destiny's Child hits including "Bootylicious", "Jumpin' Jumpin'", "Independent Women", "Bills, Bills, Bills" and "Survivor" which was included during a video interlude.[29][33][39] Performances of "Upgrade U" and "Video Phone" followed; Knowles was accompanied by two female dancers and three male dancers, one of whom recorded a live stream of her with a camera throughout the routine during the performance of the latter song.[41] This was followed by a rendition of "Say My Name" where she interacted with one member of the audience, asking that person what his or her name and then asking from them to say her name.[43] As the song ended she went back to the main stage. In the penultimate section of the show, Knowles appeared in the middle of the stage wearing a gown with lights at her from all around the arena as she sang "At Last". A footage of her performance of the song at Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the United States, video images of civil rights era footage and snippets from her performance of the song in the movie, Cadillac Records (2008) were shown on the screens behind here.[19][20][29] The power ballad "Listen" was performed afterwards.[31] This was followed by a YouTube video interlude featuring imitations of the choreography for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" performed by fans as well as Barack Obama and Justin Timberlake.[29][32] Knowles then sang the song while performing the Bob Fosse-inspired choreography.[19] For the finale, she performed an extended version of "Halo" descending from the stage and shaking hands with the fans in the front rows.[29][42] She then went to the top of the staircase and repeatedly said "I am", awaiting the crowd to say it back. She then said "I am... yours" which was also written on the screen behind her and exited the stage.[29][42]

Critical response[edit]

"Beyonce's entrance at the O2 makes the finale of 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' seem like an exercise in tasteful understatement. As dry ice gusts wildly about the stage and Wagnerian horns blare, a statuesque silhouette appears, hand on hips, head tilted imperiously. Then the swelling intro to 'Crazy In Love' kicks in, the smoke clears, and there stands Beyonce, superhumanly buff and glamorous. You are left in no doubt that tonight you are in the presence of pop royalty... There's so much glittering spectacle that you could be at a lavish Broadway musical or a presidential inauguration... Pop music doesn't get any smarter, sassier or more spectacular."

—Nick Kelly, Irish Independent[30]

The I Am... World Tour received rave reviews from critics. Mike Ross of the website Jam! gave Knowles' "spectacular" performance 4.5 out of 5 stars stating that she proved she could sing traditional R&B if she wanted with the cover of Etta James' "At Last".[44] He further noted that the show had "high-production bells... a wide range of musical styles... a remarkable vocal range, and of course the riveting presence of the star herself."[44] Stephanie Classen of The Star Phoenix remarked, "Beyoncé doesn't really need the bells and whistles of a big stadium show, but it sure makes for an unforgettable concert."[45] Additional praise was received from Randall King of the Winnipeg Free Press who graded her "lavishly produced" performance 4 stars out of 5, saying, "In Sasha-mode... Knowles is raw energy convincingly expressing a live hard/work hard ethos with every shimmy and nimble vocal trill... But Beyoncé... showed feeling ... with more ballad-y numbers" further noting that her split-personality "bounces back and forth" throughout the show.[18] Alice Jones of The Independent noted that whether Knowles performed power balladry, dancehall or electro songs, "she sings her heart out" and further praised the "astonishingly high-energy show, the ambitious choreography barely grazing her perfect, lung-busting vocals which run from caramel smooth to honeyed foghorn".[31] She concluded her review by saying, "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."[31] Ben Ratliff of The New York Times writes, "there is a breathtaking elegance in her acute desire to entertain" further saying that "the whole point of the dazzling show was to make you ask how she does it. Not just physically, but organizationally."[19] Ratliff also praised Knowles' "hollering voice, her imperious movement, her costume changes and the show’s crush of concepts with their long tails of reference."[19] Deborah Mcaleese and Lauren Mulvenny of The Belfast Telegraph described the show as "incredible... mind blowing... [and] electrifying".[46] A writer of Evening Chronicle wrote that Knowles proved she was the best entertainer "with a two-hour set packed with bling, glamour and, most importantly, enthusiasm", further praising her for singing the songs live "hit[ting] every note" while dancing to her choreography.[36] The writer further chose the performances of "Ave Maria", "At Last" and "Listen" as highlights during the show describing Knowles' vocals as "incredible".[36] Similarly, Jay Hanna of The Sunday Times chose the same songs as highlights during the show, further saying that "Halo" was the most memorable moment of the night. She also praised Knowles' "enviable" dancing skills, compared her with Dionne Warwick but noted that, "Her brilliant performance, which was only let down by weaker, less melodic songs such as Get Me Bodied or Upgrade U, was matched by spectacular production and audio visuals."[39] Jay Lustig of The Star-Ledger also wrote that "At Last" and "Listen" were as "riveting as anything that had come before", further choosing the performances of "You Oughta Know" and "Halo" as other highlights.[24] Lustig described the show as a "bona fide pop spectacle" noting that many of the songs which were performed had futuristic themes.[24] Jim Farber from the Daily News viewed the tour as "a huge upgrade in charm, humor and chops" and added that "Beyoncé's presence punctuated her singing like an exclamation point".[40]

Knowles performing "Ave Maria" during the tour. The dancers gathered on stage to put a veil on Knowles' head (left) to make the white dress look like a wedding gown (right). The dress was originally designed black by Mugler, but Knowles forced the designer to make it white.[47]

Describing the show as simultaneously "spellbinding, exhausting to watch and hugely slick" and calling Knowles "the planet's greatest superstar", Michael Cragg of musicOMH noted that the highlights included songs from the Sasha Fierce disc of the album.[23] Caryn Ganz of Rolling Stone magazine praised the show, saying, "She worked, and worked it relentlessly, never missing a note, a beat of choreography, or a chance to strike a pose, hold it, and be adored."[29] Jayson Rodriguez of MTV News, commented "Through six outfit changes, bombastic ballads, high-energy singles and a daring high-wire journey from the stage to the center of the arena, Beyoncé delivered over and over again."[21] A writer of Billboard magazine noted that Knowles "brought all the fierceness" on stage for the tour.[41] The Australian '​s Patrick Emery noted that Knowles showcased her self-assurance and professionalism in "full view" further praising the "carefully" choreographed show.[42] Comparing her performance with Michael Jackson's, Renee Michelle Harris of the South Florida Times writes, "[Knowles] owns the stage with her trademark swagger and intensity... showcasing her powerful vocals without missing a note, often while engaged in vigorous, perfectly executed dance moves...no one, not Britney, not Ciara and not Rihanna can offer what she does—a complete package of voice, moves and presence."[20] Tamara Hardingham-Gill of the Daily Mail awarded the performance five out of five stars and noted that Knowles' vocal abilities were showcased during the ballads of the show where she was "note perfect throughout".[33] She concluded her review by saying that although it was "too early" to compare Knowles with Michael Jackson, "she certainly proved that she is one of the most exciting and talented performers around and may well go down in history as such."[33] Comparing her with Diana Ross and Tina Turner, Holly Burnes of The Daily Telegraph noted that Knowles proved she was the "world's best female performed" with her performance and added, "Whether crumping, sweeping across the stage in towering heels, or simply standing still, Beyonce was dynamite, blasting the benchmark for concert performers forever... Good luck trying to follow that act whoever you are."[37] Simon Colling from The West Australian described the performance as "powerhouse" and added, "Beyonce's high-energy, high-voltage mix of song (loud, commercial R&B) and dance recalled names like Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and rapper Missy Elliott. Sometimes her booming vocals were so over the top she seemed to have come down with a case of Mariah Carey syndrome."[38] Writing that there were "ska, reggae, girlish pop, jazz, rap, soul, gospel, Middle Eastern, rock and body-thumping club remixes", Joanna Horowitz of The Seattle Times added, "The only thing is, while she can wrap her voice and body around just about any style, she doesn't really have her own signature, at least musically. And while all the variety kept the concert interesting, it came off a little unfocused... But for a show that's as much about style as music, you gotta hand it to Beyoncé. The evening played out like a hip-hop Cirque du Soleil — sequins galore, dramatic dance numbers, and Beyoncé at one point soaring".[22] The Observer '​s Barbara Ellen wrote, "she is a performer who can shape-change at will. Whether charismatic and soulful, or teasing and flirty, Beyoncé is, above all, in charge. Probably the most 'in charge' of any female artist I've seen onstage... she is a force of nature - delivering one of the most enjoyable well-paced shows I've seen in years."[25] However, she noted that Knowles is "so steeped in professionalism that what should be magical can become mechanical."[25] Noting influences by Tina Turner and Barbra Streisand during the tour, Ann Powers of Los Angeles Times writes:

"She somersaulted while suspended in a harness. Thrilling! She sang happy birthday to a 2-year-old. Adorable! She let the crowd take over while singing 'Irreplaceable.' Fun! She got on her knees and mourned Michael Jackson. Poignant! She hit most of her notes too, though sometimes slipping badly in her lower register. And she danced like only Beyonce can dance, with a combination of power, grace and smarts that fully unites Broadway choreography with urban street innovations... Indeed, her production can be seen as a retelling of pop's history from a feminine viewpoint -- and as an argument for Beyonce as the ultimate realization of the female pop dream."[26]

Commercial performance[edit]

Knowles performing the choreography of "Check On It" (left) and "Freakum Dress" (right) during the tour with her background female dancers.

Tickets for the American leg of the tour were available for pre-sale for members of Knowles' fan club on April 20, 2008 and the official tickets went on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster on April 25. In late May 2009, Knowles' label announced through a press release that the singer decided to set aside 2,000 seats for each date on her then-forthcoming North American tour at a discounted price of $20.[48] After already selling 1,000 tickets per show for the special low price, the last 1,000 discounted seats for each show were made available to the public on May 29, 2009 through Ticketmaster (with the exception of the artist's four-night residency at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas).[49] Due to the big demand, Sony Music announced additional dates in England, Asia and South America.[12] In May 2009, Knowles' official website was peppered with requests by disappointed fans — from Boston; Anchorage, Alaska; Tampa, Florida; St. Louis and Montreal — who asked from her to come to their towns.[12] The Daily Mail reported that the first European leg of the tour sold over 350,000 tickets for 32 shows; the UK part of the leg sold out completely with Knowles playing to over 100,000 fans.[50] Knowles broke her record of concert attendees by selling out the Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with over 60,000 tickets sold.[51] It was reported to Billboard that as of September 16, 2009, from the 53 shows, Knowles grossed $53.5 million and drawn 667,509 fans from the mostly 15,000-seat arenas.[52] In 2009, the tour was nominated for Eventful Fans' Choice Award at the 6th Annual Billboard Touring Awards.[53] The tour grossed $86 million from 93 concert shows[54][55] and 108 show total grossed $119,5 million.[56]

Controversy in Malaysia[edit]

Knowles performing during the I Am... World Tour. For the performances of "If I Were a Boy" (left) she wore futuristic designs and heralded the arrival of her onstage persona while a white dress was designed for the performances of "Broken-Hearted Girl" (right) and other ballads to show her emotional side.

In September 2009, it was announced by the Associated Press that Knowles would be bringing her show to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on October 25, 2009, but it would be without some of her usual tricks. After encountering what became familiar opposition from religious groups in a predominantly Muslim country, Knowles agreed to tone down some parts of her act. A spokesperson for the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party stated: "We are against Western sexy performances; we don't think our people need that."[57] However, a rep soon came from the concert's Malaysian organizer, stating that "all parties have reached an amicable understanding" about the performance.[57] He went on saying that Knowles should be regarded as a "role model" and an "embodiment of success" because of her philanthropic work, including campaigns against poverty and domestic violence.[57] The Marctensia promoter further told the Associated Press: "We are confident that Beyoncé's concert will once and for all silence international critics and put Malaysia back on track and move up the ranks in presenting A-list international pop concerts in this region and further boost tourism."[58]

However, it was ultimately announced in October 2009 that the concert has been postponed in the wake of accusations by Islamic conservatives that the show would be "immoral and unclean".[59] Malaysian promoter Marctensia said in a statement that the show has been postponed to a future date to be announced shortly, and added "The postponement is solely [the] decision of the artist and has nothing to with other external reasons."[60] Another representative declined to comment on whether the show was postponed due to the heavy criticism it was receiving from religious leaders in the country.[57] The show also faced oppositions by Islamic conservatives in Egypt who branded it as an "insolent sex party" that threatens the Muslim nation's "social peace and stability" and tried to encourage people against going to the concert.[61] Two years prior to the performance, Knowles scheduled a show in Malaysia but backed out due to similar protests regarding her performance.[62]

Recordings and broadcasts[edit]

Knowles performing "Crazy in Love" during the I Am... World Tour with Jay-Z at The O2 arena in London.

While Knowles was on tour, she was asked to perform a Las Vegas residency-type of show.[63] Knowles and her team produced the shows in seven days and entitled it I Am... Yours. She performed an unplugged, acoustic styled show different from the rest of her tour, at the Encore Theater in Las Vegas.[64] The show on August 2, 2009 was recorded and later released as a DVD, audio CD and television special in late November 2009 titled I Am... Yours: An Intimate Performance at Wynn Las Vegas.[5][65][66] The DVD was commercially successful peaking at number one on the Nielsen SoundScan Music DVD chart.[67] It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[68] Another live CD/DVD of the tour was released as I Am... World Tour in late November 2010.[69] The album contained performances from different stops of the tour blended with personal footage of Knowles' backstage work and thoughts about the tour and her life.[70] It served as the directorial debut for Knowles.[71] The DVD was commercially successful becoming the best selling DVD in the world in 2010.[72]

Parts of the show in Vancouver on March 31, 2009 were recorded and have been used for commercial use, as well as photos from the show used in the official tour book and other promotional items.[73] "If I Were A Boy" and "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" from the show in New Orleans were recorded and shown on TV One as a part of the Essence Music Festival in 2009.[74] A CD and DVD, released on June 15, 2010, featured her performance of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".[75] "Crazy In Love", "Freakum Dress", "Get Me Bodied", "Smash Into You" and "Broken-Hearted Girl" from the show in Donetsk, Ukraine, were recorded professionally and shown on TRK Ukraina as part of their footage of the Donbass Arena opening.[76] "Crazy In Love" and "Single Ladies" were professionally recorded at the Summer Sonic Festival in Osaka, Japan and used to promote Knowles' Japanese tour.[77] "Crazy In Love" and "Naughty Girl" were also professionally recorded at the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix F1 Rocks event in Singapore for Channel HD 5 Live coverage.[78] "Crazy In Love" was recorded professionally and shown on Frecuencia Latina from the show in Lima, Peru at the Explanada del Estadio Monumental.[79]

Opening acts[edit]

Set list[edit]

The following set list is representative of the show on June 21, 2009. It is not representative of all concerts for the duration of the tour.[29]

Shows[edit]

List of concerts, showing date, city, country, venue, tickets sold, amount of available tickets and gross revenue
Date City Country Venue Attendance Revenue
North America[94][95]
March 26, 2009 Edmonton Canada Rexall Place N/A N/A
March 27, 2009 Saskatoon Credit Union Centre
March 28, 2009 Winnipeg MTS Centre
March 31, 2009 Vancouver GM Place 10,685 / 12,595 $888,305
April 1, 2009 Seattle United States KeyArena N/A N/A
Europe[96][97][98][99][100]
April 26, 2009 Zagreb Croatia Arena Zagreb 16,599 / 17,190 $810,754
April 28, 2009 Vienna Austria Wiener Stadthalle N/A N/A
April 29, 2009 Budapest Hungary Budapest Sports Arena
April 30, 2009 Prague Czech Republic O2 Arena 10,615 / 10,951 $624,987
May 2, 2009 Rotterdam Netherlands The Ahoy 20,297 / 20,297 $1,329,275
May 3, 2009
May 5, 2009 Paris France Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy 16,149 / 16,149 $1,142,061
May 6, 2009 Strasbourg Zénith de Strasbourg 5,869 / 10,300 $353,644
May 7, 2009 Antwerp Belgium Sportpaleis 15,780 / 15,836 $1,033,927
May 8, 2009 Berlin Germany O2 World 12,477 / 12,477 $609,712
May 10, 2009 Herning Denmark Hall M N/A N/A
May 11, 2009 Gothenburg Sweden Scandinavium 8,271 / 8,500 $611,707
May 13, 2009 Stockholm Ericsson Globe 10,640 / 10,640 $728,113
May 15, 2009 Oberhausen Germany König-Pilsener Arena 9,832 / 10,037 $514,196
May 16, 2009 Zurich Switzerland Hallenstadion 12,180 / 12,240 $900,936
May 18, 2009 Lisbon Portugal Pavilhão Atlântico 17,944 / 18,649 $890,173
May 19, 2009 Madrid Spain Palacio de Deportes 15,061 / 15,061 $917,996
May 20, 2009 Barcelona Palau Sant Jordi 10,560 / 11,650 $673,865
May 22, 2009 Newcastle England Metro Radio Arena 21,962 / 21,962 $2,331,923
May 23, 2009 Birmingham National Indoor Arena 22,384 / 22,420 $2,437,695
May 25, 2009 London The O2 91,746 / 91,746 $9,061,819
May 26, 2009
May 27, 2009 Manchester Manchester Evening News Arena 29,310 / 29,754 $3,266,557
May 29, 2009 Dublin Ireland The O2 75,660 / 75,660 $8,491,788
May 30, 2009
May 31, 2009 Belfast Northern Ireland Odyssey Arena 29,356 / 29,356 $2,794,877
June 1, 2009
June 3, 2009 Dublin Ireland The O2 [a] [a]
June 4, 2009
June 6, 2009 Liverpool England Echo Arena Liverpool 21,590 / 21,605 $2,469,029
June 7, 2009 Sheffield Sheffield Arena 11,049 / 11,049 $889,562
June 8, 2009 London The O2 [b] [b]
June 9, 2009
North America[98][99][103][104]
June 21, 2009 New York City United States Madison Square Garden 27,580 / 27,710 $3,526,375
June 22, 2009
June 23, 2009 Baltimore 1st Mariner Arena 8,619 / 11,726 $683,904
June 24, 2009 Washington, D.C. Verizon Center 13,736 / 13,736 $1,390,421
June 26, 2009 Philadelphia Wachovia Center 14,971 / 14,971 $1,377,995
June 27, 2009 Greensboro Greensboro Coliseum 10,600 / 10,600 $779,424
June 29, 2009 Sunrise BankAtlantic Center 12,629 / 13,209 $1,015,893
July 1, 2009 Atlanta Philips Arena 13,949 / 13,949 $1,281,632
July 3, 2009[c] New Orleans Louisiana Superdome N/A N/A
July 4, 2009 Houston Toyota Center 13,130 / 13,130 $1,158,361
July 5, 2009 Dallas American Airlines Center 11,319 / 11,906 $981,124
July 7, 2009 Phoenix US Airways Center 8,831 / 12,727 $483,805
July 9, 2009 Sacramento ARCO Arena 7,770 / 11,214 $583,801
July 10, 2009 Oakland Oracle Arena 11,121 / 12,524 $1,016,012
July 11, 2009 Anaheim Honda Center 9,924 / 12,287 $937,185
July 13, 2009 Los Angeles Staples Center 12,738 / 14,217 $1,437,146
July 16, 2009 Minneapolis Target Center 6,856 / 8,404 $633,501
July 17, 2009 Chicago United Center 13,852 / 14,773 $1,359,250
July 18, 2009 Auburn Hills The Palace of Auburn Hills 13,540 / 13,540 $860,250
July 20, 2009 Toronto Canada Molson Amphitheatre 15,427 / 16,000 $1,085,943
July 21, 2009 Montreal Bell Centre 6,732 / 8,630 $640,294
July 23, 2009 Uncasville United States Mohegan Sun Arena 6,729 / 7,222 $572,150
July 24, 2009 East Rutherford Izod Center 10,435 / 13,702 $968,245
July 30, 2009 Paradise Encore Theater[106] N/A N/A
July 31, 2009
August 1, 2009
August 2, 2009
Asia[98][99][107]
August 7, 2009[d] Osaka Japan Maishima Sports Island N/A N/A
August 9, 2009[d] Chiba Chiba Marine Stadium
Europe[98][99][109]
August 29, 2009[e] Donetsk Ukraine Donbass Arena N/A N/A
Oceania[98][99][110][111]
September 15, 2009 Melbourne Australia Rod Laver Arena 23,448 / 24,548 $2,686,497
September 16, 2009
September 18, 2009 Sydney Acer Arena 29,584 / 29,584 $3,679,733
September 19, 2009
September 20, 2009[f] Brisbane Brisbane Entertainment Centre N/A N/A
September 22, 2009 Adelaide Adelaide Entertainment Centre
September 24, 2009 Perth Burswood Dome
Asia[98][99][113]
September 26, 2009[g] Central Area Singapore Fort Canning Park N/A N/A
October 12, 2009 Kobe Japan Kobe World Memorial Hall
October 13, 2009 Osaka Osaka-jō Hall
October 15, 2009 Nagoya Nippon Gaishi Hall
October 17, 2009 Saitama City Saitama Super Arena
October 18, 2009
October 20, 2009 Seoul South Korea Olympic Gymnastics Arena
October 21, 2009
October 23, 2009 Beijing China Wukesong Indoor Stadium
October 29, 2009[h] Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates Yas Arena
Europe[50][98][99][116]
November 2, 2009 Moscow Russia Olimpiysky N/A N/A
Africa[98][117]
November 6, 2009 Marsa Alam Egypt The Island at Port Ghalib N/A N/A
Europe[98][99][118]
November 8, 2009 Athens Greece O.A.C.A. Olympic Indoor Hall N/A N/A
November 11, 2009 Liverpool England Echo Arena Liverpool [i] [i]
November 12, 2009 Birmingham National Indoor Arena [j] [j]
November 14, 2009 London The O2 [b] [b]
November 15, 2009[k]
November 16, 2009
November 18, 2009 Manchester Manchester Evening News Arena [l] [l]
November 19, 2009 Newcastle Metro Radio Arena [m] [m]
November 20, 2009 Nottingham Trent FM Arena Nottingham 8,492 / 9,670 $1,252,080
November 22, 2009 Dublin Ireland The O2 [a] [a]
November 23, 2009
November 24, 2009 Belfast Northern Ireland Odyssey Arena [n] [n]
South America[98][99][119][120][121]
February 4, 2010 Florianópolis Brazil Parque do Planeta Atlântida 20,362 / 20.362 $2,417,000
February 6, 2010 São Paulo Morumbi Stadium 52,757 / 52,757 $4,264,700
February 7, 2010 Rio de Janeiro HSBC Arena 28,686 / 28,686 $2,934,390
February 8, 2010
February 10, 2010 Salvador Parque de Exposições de Salvador 28,776 / 28,776 $2,676,240
February 12, 2010 Buenos Aires Argentina Hipódromo de San Isidro N/A N/A
February 14, 2010 Santiago Chile Movistar Arena
February 16, 2010 Lima Peru Explanada del Estadio Monumental
February 18, 2010[o] Port of Spain Trinidad and Tobago Queen's Park Savannah N/A N/A
Total 980,715 / 993,684 (98.6%) $95,656,252

Cancelled shows[edit]

List of cancelled concerts, showing date, city, country, venue and reason for cancellation
Date City Country Venue Reason
July 22, 2009 Mansfield United States Comcast Center Production and logistical issues[128]
September 20, 2009 Sydney Australia Acer Arena Unforeseen change in international schedule[112]
October 25, 2009 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Bukit Jalil National Stadium Opposition from Islamist party[60]
October 28, 2009 Istanbul Turkey Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium Unsettling events in Turkey[129]
October 31, 2009 Addis Ababa Ethiopia Millennium Hall Disagreement over live broadcasting rights of the concert[130]
February 20, 2010 San Juan Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum Unknown[131]
March 20, 2010 Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez Unknown[131]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel adapted as per the I Am... World Tour booklet and I Am... World Tour DVD.[73][132]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d The score data is representative of the six shows in Dublin, Ireland at the O2 on May 29, May 30, June 3, June 4, November 22, and November 23 respectively.[101]
  2. ^ a b c d The score data is representative of the seven shows in London, England at the O2 Arena on May 25, May 26, June 8, June 9, November 14, November 15, and November 16 respectively.[102]
  3. ^ The July 3, 2009 concert in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Louisiana Superdome was a part of the Essence Music Festival.[105]
  4. ^ a b The August 7, 2009 concert in Osaka, Japan at the Maishima Sports Island and the August 9, 2009 concert in Chiba, Japan at the Chiba Marine Stadium were a part of the Summer Sonic Festival.[108]
  5. ^ The August 29, 2009 concert in Donetsk, Ukraine at the Donbass Arena was a part of the opening event for the Donbass Arena.[109]
  6. ^ The September 20, 2009 concert in Brisbane, Australia at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre was originally planned to take place on September 13 but was rescheduled due to an unforeseen change in the international schedule.[112]
  7. ^ The September 26, 2009 concert in Central Area, Singapore at the Fort Canning Park was a part of the F1 Rocks Singapore Festival.[114]
  8. ^ The October 29, 2009 concert in Abu Dhabi, UAE at the Yas Arena was a part of the Yasalam After-Race Concerts.[115]
  9. ^ a b The score data is representative of the both shows in Liverpool, England at the Echo Arena Liverpool on June 6 and November 11 respectively.[101]
  10. ^ a b The score data is representative of the both shows in Birmingham, England at the Nation Indoor Arena on May 23 and November 12 respectively.[101]
  11. ^ The November 15, 2009 concert in London, England at the O2 Arena was a part of a competition presented by Trident Gum.[33]
  12. ^ a b The score data is representative of the both shows in Manchester, England at the Manchester Evening News Arena on May 27 and November 18 respectively.[101]
  13. ^ a b The score data is representative of the both shows in Newcastle, England at the Metro Radio Arena on May 22 and November 19 respectively.[101]
  14. ^ a b The score data is representative of the three shows in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the Odyssey Arena on May 31, June 1, and November 24 respectively.[101]
  15. ^ The February 18, 2010 concert in the Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago was originally planned to take place at the Queen's Park Oval but was moved to the Queen's Park Savannah[119][122]

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External links[edit]