Before Beyonce’s Verizon Center show tonight, a Yonce primer

Despite shimmying her way across the Verizon Center stage an unbelievable three times in 2013, Beyonce continues to sell out the house, disappointing news for all who'd hoped to beg, borrow or bargain their way into tonight's return engagement of the Mrs. Carter Show world tour. This summer, choice seats started popping up on Ticketmaster in the hours before her shows, so perhaps it's worth checking obsessively today when your boss isn't looking.

If you're among the thousands of lucky fans who've already managed to score a seat, it's time to get caught up on what's arguably been Beyonce's best week ever.


Beyonce at the Los Angeles date of her Mrs. Carter Show world tour this month, before the surprise release of "Beyonce."  (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP)

Beyonce's surprise new record, "Beyonce," released Friday, surprised fans. But it really surprised music critics.
After calling her 2011 effort "4" "as thrilling as 2% milk," Post pop music critic Chris Richards reversed his hard-line on B and applauded "Beyonce," citing both its experimentation and its raunch -- and let's face it, it's hard not to notice the blue streak running through this record. (Is it ratchet? Discuss.)

In a few days' time, the album sold 800,000 digital copies, Billboard reports.  Looking for a hard copy? You'll have to wait; some outlets are reporting it'll be delivered to retailers Friday. Streaming services, such as Spotify, are also expected to have the album next week, so if you're looking to listen to it today, yes, you still have to mosey over to iTunes and buy it in full.

Goodbye, Bey. Hello, Yonce.
Times have changed since music writers had only four or five nicknames with which they could refer to Beyonce. But with a single track, "Beyonce" introduced us to grill-wearing, tough-talking Yonce, and we like her. We really, really like her.

New York Magazine's The Cut talked with director Ricky Saiz about how he and Yonce defined sexy (hint: George Michael has something to do with it) for the Joan Smalls-starring "Yonce" video.

The album is new. The globe-trotting Mrs. Carter Show tour is not.
This is the same tour that came through town in July. Contributor Ashley Fetters wrote of the first sold-out night: "A video Beyoncé -- who would show up in various incarnations throughout the show, often with inspirational voice-overs about empowerment and womanhood, while the real Beyoncé was changing outfits -- set the tone with a lavish but eerie Gagaesque, royalty-deconstructed montage. Masked dancers wearing hoop-skirt cages led the procession onto the Verizon Center stage, where real Beyoncé spent her first 10 seconds standing perfectly still under the lights. Then, with a whiplash-deliberate shoulder shimmy, she kicked off the explosive “Run the World (Girls).” Read the rest of the review here.

If you went this summer, let's re-live it all, shall we?

If there are two new songs to expect tonight, it's these.
After teasing the planet with 30-second clips of the "visual" elements of her visual album, Bey -- sorry, Yonce -- this week released two videos in full: The homage to drinking while dating, "Drunk in Love" and the remix-ready party banger "XO." Watch them both below.

 

Lavanya Ramanathan is a features reporter for Style.

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Tom Sietsema · December 18, 2013