I’m a music girl. All types. I’m a rapping, county singing, heart-wrenching lyricist wannabe, outfitting my high school AIM profile in the words of Coldplay, Dashboard Confessional, and Smashing Pumpkins and later tagging best friends in identifiable Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons heartbreak songs and Drake and Jay Z anthems. With this affinity for music and the many different genres that fit my many different moods, comes a love for concerts. I’ve been to many, of all sorts, which is why I can confidently give Wembley Stadium as a concert venue a definite Don’t.
My husband surprised me with Beyoncé tickets since she is my favorite and he is the best. The tickets were for the Club Wembley area, which is some sort of VIP level primarily for the football games. The concert was Saturday evening, with doors opening at 5:00. I put on my Beyoncé best, strappy shoes, skinny jeans, lots of diamonds, and a low-cut top. For some reason I felt Beyoncé needed me to look like a basketball wife. Anyway, we headed there for around 6:30, which was enough time to buy a bottle of champagne and pour it into two clear plastic cups (no glasses allowed in the stadium), and inhale an unhealthy burger and questionable nachos. I didn’t understand what was so special about the Club Wembley area. The food was awful and there weren’t a lot of options. It did seem to be a quieter level, so many that’s the draw? Who knows.
With our first of three bottles of £35 bubbly for two (don’t judge us) we headed to our seats. The actual proximity to the stage was fine. The venue offered a vast floor section and filled a horseshoe shape worth of stadium seats, making for a pretty full show. Full doesn’t translate to energetic, however. My first criticism may not be Wembley specific, as I’ve seen this issue at several London concerts. London crowds don’t get very rowdy. It was baffling to me seeing concergoers sit in their seats during Beyoncé. BEYONCÉ. The crowd was disappointing, but obviously didn’t stop me from pounding another bottle of champagne and dancing like a fool while actually being drunk in love. I spoke to my friends who went to the Madison Square Garden show, and they too were in disbelief. No one sits. It’s un-American.
I first noticed the lame crowd during DJ Khaled’s opening set. In every city throughout the Formation tour, DJ Khaled had been bringing up surprise performers to wow the crowd. I couldn’t wait to see the London guest stars after learning that some cities had names as big as Snoop and Weezie. I thought Khaled was just warmingeverybody up when two basic performers came on with a song I may have heard once. When they left the stage, so did Khaled, and everything came to a halt for 30 minutes. That’s when I realized how disappointing this London show was destined to be. I had already heard the horror stories from the previous week’s Rihanna concert at Wembley. Everyone I spoke to said it was the worst show they had seen, it was barely half-filled, and RiRi sounded like shit.
The sun decided to show up once B was on stage and the concert was in full swing. It was burning the retinas of others earlier in the evening, and once my girl was on stage, it was our turn. So much of a concert is about the stage, lighting, screens, and videos. When you have a venue that is still light out at 9:00PM, it kinda puts a damper on all of the best parts of a concert. Wembley was not only too light and bright, but the setting sun actually parked right across the guests faces for lengthy portions of the show. It was such a disappointment. None of the colors, costumes, videos and dance moves were as powerful as they could and should have been.
Now that you know the visuals were all compromised, let me get into the sound. Stadium concerts are always the worst. I don’t know if it’s due to being outdoors or the sound echoing all over the place, or what, but it was lame.
So that was our concert. And after a disappointing (£400 for two tickets) show that made me miss the USA and want to hide myself in Bey’s luggage, we left Wembley and embarked on a challenging journey home. We followed a sea of people toward never ending tube signs, only to give up after the crowds were so severe that we imagined a forever wait and/or the grossest ride ever. Instead, we turned around and called an Uber to a nearby hotel.
I can safely say, I will never go to Wembley Stadium for a concert again. I can see it being fine for a football match, but for something that requires multiple senses, no thanks. Take my word for it and skip concerts at Wembley!
London HA9 0WS