The in-flight entertainment for Friday’s charter flights did a lot more than get passengers hyped up about their travel plans, it prepped them for their destination: Beyoncé.
With monitors displaying a live Beyoncé show and her songs blaring through the speakers, concertgoers were jetted off to Marsa Alam for a night with their favorite superstar, singing her hits along the way.
This weekend’s concert by R n B diva Beyoncé was about more than brining her music to fans in Egypt. It was also about creating an identity for Marsa Alam’s touristic community Port Ghalib as the country’s concert connection hotspot.
Judging by both the organization and the performance, the resort has no competition.
Port Ghalib, an integrated resort community overlooking the Red Sea, is a maze of hotels, residences and restaurants – connected by nooks and alleyways lined with shops – all centered around an international marina.
And throughout the day, luxury yachts ferried in throngs of Beyoncé fans coming in from nearby countries.
This weekend’s concert set an example local event organizers should follow. Upon checking in, attendees were given a map, information about Port Ghalib as well as a schedule outlining the day’s highlights and their time slots. And lo and behold, they stuck to it.
From the buses that transported guests from the resort to the stage, to the opening act, fireworks and main event, everything ran like clockwork.
We arrived early in the day and there was no dearth of entertainment options to wile away the hours. In near perfect weather, we hit the beach, lunched by the marina, strolled through the shops and even watched as speed boats tore through the sea as part of the ongoing Formula 2 Continental Cup. All the while, the Beyoncé buzz was in the air.
At around 7 pm we made our way on buses to The Island to get a good spot for the show. Security was tight as the platinum (LE 2,000), gold (LE 1,000) and stage ticket (LE 250) holders were let in through different gates – but we all got to stroll in on the red carpet.
Even though we got the cheapest tickets, we ended up being closest to the stage (second row, baby), while the more “posh concertgoers preferred to be wined and dined rather than be up in the middle of the action.
First we enjoyed the music of DJ Samba, who set the tone by spinning remixes of the latest hits. Then we were treated to an interesting display of art and dexterity by UK act New Substance. Though the act got off to a slow start, it proved to be captivating as dancers showed off startling acrobatic tricks, dangling from large, painted balloons, twisting and turning to intense music and teasing the audience as they floated above us.
And to really get the crowd fired up, an elaborate fireworks show went on for minutes on both sides of the stage.
Even though her promo promised to start the show at “10:30 sharp, Beyoncé was fashionably 10 minutes late for an anxious crowd who chanted the diva’s name calling for her to grace the stage.
When the star finally exploded on stage with her hit single “Crazy In Love, her energy instantly reverberated through the hundreds of screaming fans, which comprised a mixed bag of ages and nationalities.
The audience sang along with Beyoncé to hits from her latest album “I Am.Sasha Fierce, including “Diva, “Broken Hearted Girl, “If I were a Boy, and fan-favorite “Single Ladies, which was preceded by a medley of YouTube videos of fans – and Justine Timberlake’s SNL skit – doing the popular choreography.
The show also included songs from past albums “Dangerously in Love and “B-Day, as well as a nostalgic medley of Destiny’s Child hit songs.
Whether she slowed it down with some of her soulful tunes or kicked things up with thumping beats, one thing was constant: her all-female band and the dancers were right in step all the way through, thriving on the audience’s energy.
Beyoncé’s “I Am.Tour is arguably her raciest, promoting her third album “I Am.Sasha Fierce, named after her stage alter ego which is known to be dramatically different from her otherwise sweet-tempered personality. While Beyoncé is more prone to soft, soulful music, Sasha Fierce is all about conquering the stage with ferocious beats and hard-hitting moves.
Four costume changes throughout embodied the theme of her tour, which her costume designer describes as the “duality between being a woman and a warrior. At one point, her dancers help her turn a white leotard covered with a flowy white robe into a bridal ensemble complete with a veil – one of the show’s many highlights.
Another favorite was a rendition of “Irreplaceable, where Beyoncé turned the mic to the fans, who took over and sang every syllable right on beat.
She closed the show with an emotional tribute to Michael Jackson, singing a tearful “Halo for the second time as pictures of the legend flashed across the big screen.
Every tune and every move hit the right note, and we were still humming our favorite songs long after the Beyoncé spectacular came to an end.