Gallery and review: Beyonce roars into Birmingham

They came in their thousands - devoted pilgrims ready to worship at the altar of Beyonce, all big hair, hotpants and light-up plastic bows at the LG Arena in Birmingham.

It is just 10 months since The Mrs Carter Show World Tour roared into Birmingham. But since then, Queen Bey unleashed her shock pre-Christmas album to massive critical acclaim and then within days announced she was coming back to Brum, bringing a completely reworked tour along with her. 

The anticipation was palpable at the LG Arena as fans waited, and waited, for their heroine to arrive on stage. And just minutes before 9pm, as the sound of booming, rhythmic drums and dramatic choir-like singing filled the air, the high priestess of pop finally appeared up through a trapdoor, that bootylicious bod clad in a white sparkly leotard and black boots.

Just days after her pared-down performance at The Brits split opinion - some describing it as 'boring' and others insisting it was the stand-out part of the show - there was no mistaking which Beyonce we were getting to see. 

'Birming-HAM!' she hollered to her adoring fans who roared back in appreciation, before she launched into a fierce rendition of Run The World. For the non-believers, I'll explain that this song is a foot-stomping, arm-waving feminist rant of a track about girls ruling earth. This was to be an evening packed full of messages for the sisterhood - basically that you can be mother, wife and worker and still ooze sex appeal every minute of the day. Well you can if you're Beyonce anyway. 

The feminist speech by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which appears on her latest album then echoed around the room. It includes the line: "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls 'You can have ambition, but not too much'."

A pumped-up Beyonce launched into Flawless, and then Baby Boy. 

Then we were given more messages, this time from a recording of Beyonce herself. Something about sensuality being a gift, a gift that gives you power, power that you can manipulate and celebrate. She went off stage and reappeared in a sequinned body suit with defined golden nipples proclaiming she was going to be a Naughty Girl, and then sang her track of the same name. All doe eyes and pelvic thrusts, she was sex on those famously Amazonion legs as she stalked around the stage dancing in her trademark animalistic, primal way. She finished her raunchiest performance by writhing around on a giant chair, before straddling another for her hit Drunk in Love. We were out of breath just watching her - she barely broke a sweat.

Bey seemed to get genuinely emotional as the crowd sang Irreplaceable back at her before she walked amongst them, shaking hands and sharing her microphone on the way to a mini stage in the middle of the floor for the uplifting Love on Top. 

Crazy in Love, which is an unbelievable 11 years old, was met with cheers as was Single Ladies, thousands of turning hands aloft as she performed her famous dance routine. She sang her latest single XO and finished with a rousing rendition of Halo. 

She made many fans' nights by holding their hands and singing alongside them, but none could be more happier than Shanaz, a girl at the front of the stage who Beyonce spotted was celebrating and sang Happy Birthday to. 

I wasn't particularly a fan before last night's show but after two hours, I was converted. Something about her makes you feel like you can achieve absolutely anything - provided you're wearing thigh-skimming sparkly hotpants and not a right lot else. If you're going tonight, you'll have an absolute belter.

Becky Woods
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