Beyonce Knowles dazzles nearly 10,000 fans at Beijing's Wukesong Arena on Friday night. [Courtesy of AEG]
The jam-packed crowd was going wild even before she had entered the auditorium. So excited were the people that they had begun dancing, doing the Mexican wave while the performer was still in the green room. A deafening roar arose when confetti cannons blasted above the main seating area, showering the crowd with sparkling blue glitter.
And all hell seemed to break loose when Beyonce Knowles took the stage. "Beijing, do you want to dance?" she said midway through Brokenhearted Girl, and people leapt from their seats. Soon many were jumping up and down in the walkways, waving their hands wildly in the air to everything she sang.
Grammy-winning American R&B singer Beyonce, known as much for her performance as for her sex appeal, dazzled nearly 10,000 fans at Beijing's Wukesong Arena on Friday night with her signature spunky stage presence and sonorous vocals.
The show was her first in Beijing and her only mainland stop on her I Am world tour.
Fans cheered and waved glow sticks while Beyonce, her 12-woman band and backup dancers rocked the stage. Most of the songs she sung, such as Hello, Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) and Ave Maria, are from her new album I Am Sasha Fierce, which went gold in China. And it was her first tour since her last album, The Beyonce Experience, sold out in 2007.
The singer got a better reception in Beijing than in Shanghai, where she staged her only other show on the mainland in 2007. But then her Shanghai fans complained she was not "warm" toward the audience.
It was different in Beijing. "She gave the best of what she has got, and the best-received song was If I Were A Boy. Her covers of Michael Jackson's songs were the most surprising addition to her repertoire," said Zhang Jing, a member of Beijing's Beyonce fan club.
"She offered a wonderful lesson for local entertainers to learn from with her exceptional presentation, dancing, vocals and staging."
The 27-year-old performer opened the show with her hit Deja vu, followed by Crazy In Love, to which she danced clad in a glittering silver sequin dress with an enormous bow on the back.
She commemorated pop legend Michael Jackson during her performance of If I Were a Boy, dressing in an outfit similar to that from his hit album Thriller and emulating his signature moonwalk.
The superstar switched costumes several times, morphing her stage persona from that of a "moonlight goddess" to a beautiful bride, an S&M leather queen, a sexy android, and a human-leopardess hybrid between songs.
Audiences admired the feminist spirit she demonstrated - a major theme of her recent album and ongoing tour.
The artist recalled her days with the chart-topping Destiny's Child by singing Say My Name, Bootylicious and Independent Woman. She encored with her best Single Ladies, to the delight of a cheering crowd.
"Beyonce demonstrated womanly confidence, power and sexiness in her songs. Some songs also promote women's liberation," said Wang Xun, another member of her Beijing fan club.