Jay Z and Beyonce took their show on the road, opening the On The Run summer tour last night at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Amid  some since-debunked rumors that the tour was not selling well, the six-week run started with more than 76,000 concert-goers singing along during the  2-1/2 hour show.

The evening uses the “Run” video as its template, using a couple on the lam as its extended theme as the pair weaves more than 40 songs songs in and out of that construct.
According to the reviews below, Beyonce brings the glamour and Jay Z brings the grit. The U.S. portion of the tour ends Aug. 6 at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

Below is a review round-up from opening night:

New York Times: "Beyoncé and Jay Z, married since 2008, opened their sold-out Wednesday night show at Sun Life Stadium here — the beginning of their “On the Run” tour — with a string of those [conspiratorial and exuberant] hits. “ ’03 Bonnie & Clyde,” “Upgrade U,” “Crazy in Love”: These are songs of diligent, enthusiastic, sometimes giddy love. From there, for almost two and a half hours, they traded control of the stage (approximately 20 times in all), giving each other space to be the center of attention and also helping out where needed in a show that acknowledged their two very different sorts of success without diminishing either one…While Beyoncé and her dancers formed a formidable phalanx, by comparison, Jay Z looked lonely, though he easily held the stage, even without backup. On some of his most familiar songs, he rapped in a ginger staccato, as if he didn’t want to dwell. By contrast, every time Beyoncé retook the stage from her husband, it was as if reveille were blasting at full volume, announcing that boot camp had begun. Jay Z allowed for breezy enjoyment; Beyoncé demanded full and reverent attention."

Billboard: "The sheer volume of material, coupled with the cinematic theme (more on that later) and Beyoncé’s jaw-dropping wardrobe changes made for a highly entertaining and impressive show that went from the glamorous to the profane…But it was also a rather detached show… the lines between performers and audience were very sharply delineated and both Jay and Beyoncé’s were careful to adhere to script and procedure every step of the way…Alternating in the sparse, almost industrial-looking stage, Beyoncé and Jay-Z proceeded to take us on a journey of fashion, high-level performance and music, always returning to the central theme of love—challenged, perhaps, but finally standing strong."

The Guardian: "Some songs came in snippets and the show occasionally felt rushed, but with over two decades of work under their jointed belts, how else could they get through their catalogue without pushing the three-hour mark?…The tour played into both of the pair's strengths: Jay brought the Brooklyn bravado and Bey brought the southern strut. Next his wife, Jay Z isn't much a dancer, and when the tempo upped, he respectfully exited, letting her lead her Beyhive legions through their hip-shaking glory."

USA Today: "Early on, it becomes apparent that this is a totally integrated performance. Sure, it gives Beyoncé time for her phenomenal costume changes, but the coordination is not just remarkable, it's the absolute best way that two of the world's best performers can deliver a show that proves why they're on top together…This show is worth it just for Beyoncé's ensembles. She reappears in a black lace, drop-sleeve number, a la Stevie Nicks, for Haunted, a highlight performance, boasting creamy vocals that contrast with other awesome numbers like the more agro Flawless and triumphant Crazy In Love. Her vocal range is as vast as her fashion choices."

Rolling Stone: "The most powerful couple in music could have easily just coasted on their names, performing a sparse half-Jay/half-Bey concert before cashing the Roc Nation checks. Instead, over the course of two-and-a-half hours and 42 songs, the Carters opened their joint On the Run tour with a well synchronized cinematic spectacle…Husband and wife might get equal billing here, but make no mistake: This is Beyoncé's show. She monopolized the heavy-duty set pieces, she wore the jaw-dropping outfits, she delivered the mesmerizing and complex choreography. Perhaps a little too often, it felt like Jay Z was there just to kill time between his wife's costume changes, but what better way to kill time than have one of the greatest rappers of all time rifle through a few of his biggest tunes."




Melinda Newman is the former West Coast Bureau Chief for Billboard Magazine with more than 15 years of music industry experience. She also covers entertainment for The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Variety, MSN, AOL and other outlets.