Don’t forget this: Beyoncé and Jay-Z are entertainers, and they take their jobs quite seriously. In 2014, the married pair kicked off their joint mega successful On the Run Tour (it earned $100 million in ticket sales), leaning into a Bonnie and Clyde-style escapist narrative and deftly transitioning between each of their hits.
Of course, the summer show was underscored with an unfortunate plot-twist: Jay-Z’s cheating. Just before the tour kicked off in June, video footage leaked of Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s baby sister, furiously attacking Jay-Z at a Met Gala after-party in N.Y.C. We may never know what, exactly, instigated that confrontation in the elevator, but it was widely speculated that infidelity was at the root.
Watching the couple at the first On the Run show was simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming. As Beyoncé’s enormous American flag-print Givenchy gown billowed from stadium to stadium, you could see the emotion (perhaps she was holding back tears?) in her eyes as they sung love songs together, putting forth an image of a happy marriage—but who knows what they were like once the stadium lights shut off.
After that, Beyoncé gave us Lemonade and Jay-Z gave us 4:44, two gloriously personal and raw albums that, in their glamorous fashion, answered what we all wondered: did he cheat? We know now that he did, and the power couple has worked to repair their relationship ever since.
Which brings us to the On The Run II Tour, which kicked off Wednesday night in Cardiff, Wales at the Principality Stadium.
Surprisingly, the pair didn’t rewrite the concert costume rulebook. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Notably, Jay-Z cycled through 10 looks, while Beyoncé had only a handful. Perhaps his costume changes were a metaphor for his own evolution; for him, this is his opportunity to rewrite his story, to reposition himself from a man who turned his back on his wife to a loyal family man.
He found success in a sharply tailored white haute couture Givenchy suit styled with a silk T-shirt. It’s still cool and perfect for a rapper, but we can’t help but think the white hue screams, “forgive me?”—a sort of white flag in its own right. Still, he offered up a taste of his bad boy classics by way of Margiela bombers and silky soft Loewe leather jackets. There were militant undertones, too—in the form of a bulletproof vest and camouflage pants—that feel both like a response to the current climate of gun violence and protest culture in America, as well as a symbol of his will to fight for his relationship. More suits in shades of blue added the "reformed-gentleman" touch.
Beyoncé, contrastingly, gave us what we want. She knows her fans perceive her as the queen of the pop entertainment industry, and if you’re going to a Beyoncé show (let’s face it, more people in the audience know her hits than his) you’re looking to spot sparkly bodysuits and a hell of a lot of choreography—and that’s what she delivered.
Like Jay-Z, she too played up the On the Run theme, once more covering her face in fishnet and embellished masks, looking like a bandit—a fabulously over-the-top one, at that. She switched in and out of custom Gucci, Mugler, and LaQuan Smith numbers, and didn’t shy away from showing a lot of skin. (Hello, red leopard bodysuit.)
Her vibrant, "Single Ladies"-esque looks could stand alone on tour, without Jay-Z by her side. Given that the costumes don't complement each other, however, they tell us that Beyonce—in her loud, sexy looks—is the one in charge. Though, she’s not above sharing the stage.
The tour will continue unfolding—and so too will new stories about their love life—in the months to come. But one thing that certainly seems obvious is that here we have a couple that’s been through it, that’s assessed the damage and is finally, at least from afar, appearing to move on. Call us cheesy, but the possibility that indeed they’re very much still crazy in love is still there.
That being said, the tour is a business. And in the music business, putting forth the right image is what's most important.
See all of their On the Run II Tour looks below.