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Beyonce returns to Atlanta; pays tribute to Shawty Lo during "Formation World Tour"

By Jewel Wicker

Beyonce's "Formation World Tour" returned to Atlanta for the second time in less than six months for another sold-out show on Monday, Sept. 26. The two shows were essentially the same. But, Monday's show was certainly a tighter version.

Now months into the tour, "The Formation World Tour" is a well-oiled machine.

Kicking off with the "Formation," Beyonce strutted onto the stage wearing a black and flesh-toned bodysuit, knee-high boots and a black wide-brimmed hat just after 9:30 p.m.

Dancing and gliding across a moving platform, Beyonce and her dancers worked the stage, strutting down an L-shaped catwalk and passing the microphone to fans at times so that they could sing along as Beyonce provided welcomed mashups of songs from throughout her career. "Sorry," a popular cut from her latest album "Lemonade" gave way to the naughty fan favorite "Kitty Kat," while the "Countdown" interpolation in "Hold Up" gave way to a high-energy version of the song.  The singer performed the latter during the MTV VMAs earlier this year and her performance of "Freedom" at the BET Awards ensured that the water routine wouldn't be new to fans. The fact that the novelty has worn off didn't make the performances any less powerful, however.

There were some new things added to the show, although not enough to warrant the purchase of a second ticket. The singer and her team added a few new video clips and they projected on a giant cube (which remains one of the most fascinating pieces of the tour) in the center of the stage. Throughout the night, the cube projected the concert so that fans throughout the Georgia Dome could get a zoomed-in view, displayed well-produced video during transitions, spun, opened to reveal more dancers and twirling aerialists ("Mine"), and sparklers ("Don't Hurt Yourself"), and partially lifted to reveal a group of rotating cubbyholes ("Partition").

Beyonce also opted for an a capella version of "Love On Top," showing off her vocal chops before delivering a soulful version of "1+1." Much of the show was about Beyonce as a performer and the grandiose production. This portion of the concert was a welcomed change of pace.

The most notable difference in the two shows came during a dance breakdown. The singer is known for a portion of the show in which she does the same choreography to different songs such as Migos' "Cut It" or DJ Khaled's "I Got the Keys."

During this show, she danced to Shawty Lo's "Dey Know" before blowing a kiss towards the sky in honor of the late rapper.

Less than one week after the Atlanta rapper was killed in a car accident, the Beyonce tribute wasn't the only one Lo received during the show. During DJ Khaled's set, Young Jeezy performed his popular verse from the "Dey Know" remix and T.I. gave a verbal shout out to the rapper. It was one of the most memorable moments in Khaled's set, which was full of surprise guests, including Migos, Young Thug, Usher, Jermaine Dupri, T.I. Ludacris, 2 Chainz and The Dream.

A few of these artists also appeared during the DJ's set in May. Still, much like Beyonce's set, tonight's version reigned supreme.

A production as large as this one runs the risk of feeling too stiff and at times the Formation World Tour suffers that fate. For instance, letting Prince's "Purple Rain" play during a transition still doesn't feel like a fitting tribute for the late music icon.

It's because of this that the insertion of a short, sweet tribute to the life of a rapper from Bankhead was so moving.

Even if putting together the tribute was as simple as throwing a song into the mix and performing the usual choreography to it.

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About the Author

Jewel Wicker is an Atlanta native, Georgia State University graduate and entertainment reporter. She typically covers local events.