On Thursday, I headed to Glasgow for Beyoncé’s first concert of her European Tour. I was beyond excited! Mrs Carter’s vocal range is out of this world and she always delivers amazing performances so I couldn’t wait to see what she would deliver with this production. For me, attending this concert also allowed me to relive some of my American memories.
As an American living in Scotland, I miss hearing R&B in clubs and pubs. While R&B has a following in the UK, it’s certainly not as big as it is in the US and often dance and pop music are favoured here. I love being exposed to different styles of music including some music that perhaps wouldn’t have made it onto American radio stations. Although, it doesn’t stop me from missing the sounds of Motown or R&B filter throughout coffee shops, pubs or clubs.
Music can transport you to certain points in your life and for me, Beyoncé’s music reminds me of where I grew up and some of my defining moments with friends and family in high school and university. Also, who can forget her rendition of Etta James’ At Last while President Obama and Michelle Obama danced at the 2009 Inaugural Ball – a proud and significant moment for many Americans.
And so I headed to Glasgow to see Beyoncé’s concert. Glasgow is about 50 minutes west of Edinburgh by train. It’s the largest city in Scotland. To many, Glasgow is the centre of modern Scottish culture – it’s a great hub for restaurants, shopping (they currently have the only Apple store in Scotland and they have Forever 21, an American shop great for purchasing cheap trendy clothes and costume jewellery), entertainment and clubs. Glasgow is also built on the grid system so for North Americans it’s easy to find your way around the city compared to older cities like Edinburgh.
Little fact – if you watch the opening scene of World War Z, it’s shot from George Square in Glasgow. Glasgow was chosen because it resembled Philadelphia. I remember arriving in Glasgow when they were filming and not even realising that the yellow stop lights, green road signs and red octagonal stop signs were out of place in Glasgow.
Glaswegians (pronounced “Glahs-weej-ans”), people from Glasgow, are also known to be extremely friendly and chatty. If you spend a bit of time in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, you’ll notice this almost instantly. Edinburghers, while polite are more reserved, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not friendly – you just may have to dig a bit further. Glaswegians are also affectionately (and sometimes not-so affectionately) known as weegies (pronounced “wee-gees”). It’s a shorting of Glaswegian. Glaswegians are proud of their city and it is a colourful one. Like most large cities, it’s full of juxtaposition from the beautiful historical areas such as Kelvingrove Museum and the University of Glasgow to the trendy, bohemian West End. You’ll also see remainders of its industrial past that adds a bit of grit.
And so my friend Scott and I headed to the arena area of Glasgow. We camped out next to the venue at 1 pm (the doors didn’t open until 6 pm). Tick “hard-core queueing for a concert” off my bucket list. And while I hate to admit it, I think that will be the one and only time I do that! The wind combined with the cold rain was harsh and we lost feeling in our hands and feet after 5 hours of braving the cold. Next time, I think I’ll leave queueing for concerts to the teens – they are far braver than I!
Once the show started, the queueing was far from our minds. Beyoncé’s Mrs Carter Show was flawless: the lighting, choreography, costumes and her voice were amazing. She played many of her new songs off the Beyoncé album for the first-time ever including Flawless, Blow and Heaven. If you’re a Beyoncé fan and she’s coming to a city near you, I’d definitely recommend grabbing a ticket. She’s in the UK for the next two weeks (Birmingham, Manchester and London) and then heading to Europe.
What artist, band or genre of music creates nostalgic memories for you? Are you a Beyoncé fan? What’s your favourite song? Mine is currently XO.
Have you visited Glasgow and if so, what was your favourite memory? I love the Kelvingrove Museum, Science Centre and Willow Tea Room for afternoon tea. xo