“Turnt” is probably the most accurate term that can be used to capture the essence of day one of the Budweiser Made in America festival. The affair was a stomping ground for some of music’s biggest acts ranging from Meek Mill to the queen herself, Beyoncé.
Ringing in its fourth year in the City of Brotherly Love, the festival saw music lovers ditch the Labor Day beach turn-ups and cookouts for some standing-room fun at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. One of the first to hit the main stage was Vic Mensa, who rocked with a vengeance with “Feel That.” In between tracks, he yelled at the crowd, “If you made in America forreal, bounce with me!," and thus, the turn up commenced.
The 22-year-old Chi-Town native didn’t limit his set to his own material. He weaved in bits and pieces of features that he did with some of hip hop’s heavyweights including Chance the Rapper (“Cocoa Butter Kisses”) and Kanye West (“Wolves”). The highlight of his set came when he ditched his leather jacket and T-shirt –– It was peaking at 86 degrees out there. We get it, bruh –– and jumped into the crowd for a good ol’ crowd surf. He ended his energetic set with fan favorite “U Mad,” which sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Following directly after Vic was hip hop trio De La Soul, who held it down for the hip hop vets in the main stage lineup. Proving that rocking a jam-packed crowd with old hits was a simple "no biggie" scenario, they took the crowd back to the ’80s and ’90s, performing classics like “Me, Myself & I,” “Buddy” and “Stakes Is High.” Unlike preceding acts who brought the hype with their sets, Posdnuos, Dave and Maseo didn’t try to conform, staying true to their laid back aesthetic –– I mean, c’mon. They’re hip hop royalty. The crowning moment of their set was, interestingly enough, not music related – Maseo brought his mother out onstage, introducing her to the thousands of cheering onlookers.
After attendees got their entire lives to that good ol’ school hip hop set, the atmosphere reached a new degree of turnt when Meek Mill strolled onto the stage to begin his 6:30pm performance. The Philly native made sure to acknowledge his hometown after performing a strong opening list including, “F**k You,” “Levels” and “Dream and Nightmares.” “Since this my hometown, I wanna turn this into a house party,” he announced before transitioning into fan favorite “House Party.” The true surprise moment came when he brought out his bae Nicki Minaj, who joined him for a performance of “All Eyes on Me.” In true bae fashion, he introduced her by playing a slew of “Throwback Nicki” hits including “Itty Bitty Piggy” to get the crowd warmed up. Ending his set, he had a proud dad moment when he brought his son out to show the crowd how to whip and nae nae.
Now, for the moment everyone had been waiting for. Some fans camped out in the green waiting for the queen to arrive, and at 10:30pm on the dot, the event’s headliner made her grand entrance and that left jaws dragging. Rocking a flawlessly embellished nude body suit and red latex thigh-high boots, Bey made her elevated –– no, literally, she rose to the top of the stage on an elevated platform –– arrival, opening with a slowed down version of her breakout hit “Crazy in Love,” which she introduced us to on the Fifty Shades of Gray soundtrack. In no time, however, she “Sashafied” the performance, stomping the stage with her signature strut. The crowd was in for a surprising treat when Queen Bey infused the song with the ratchet anthem “Throw That A** in a Circle” and even infused Nicki’s “Truffle Butter” in the mix while she hit that choreo.
After that unmatched opening slay, Bey slowed things down with 4 cut, “I Care” before bringing the house all the way down with her first ever live performance of “7/11.” The energy was on 1000 as Beyoncé lined up her all-girl dance crew for a fully choreographed set, which had everyone in the audience was waving their hands "side to side." After continuing to bring the heat with other fan favorites like “Diva,” “Ring the Alarm,” “Bow Down/***Flawless” [btw, Bey “hopped out the mother****n’ Porshe” and the world rejoiced] and “Run the World,” Bey took the crowd back to the late ’90s where she ran down some of Destiny’s Child’s biggest hits including “Survivor” and “Jumpin’ Jumpin’,” as her sister in Destiny, Kelly Rowland, looked on from the crowd.
What brought Bey’s already winning set to new heights of perfection was her intertwining of empowering speeches from modern and contemporary feminist icons into her performances. Ronda Rousey’s phenomenally unfiltered “Do Nothing B***h” speech served as the perfect introduction to Bey’s I Am… Sasha Fierce cut “Diva” while the late Dr. Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” was flawlessly interpreted in a moving dance number.
After repping the Philadelphia Sixers by rocking a custom sequined jersey for “Partition” and “Feeling Myself,” Bey brought her latest record-breaking self-titled effort to life, performing “Haunted,” “Blow” and an anthemically seamless mashup of “XO” and “Halo” before rounding up her slayage with a genius merging of “End of Time” and “Grown Woman.” In a silver, sequined-embellished unitard and back thigh-high boots, 'Yoncé ended her expectedly immaculate set with “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) before sending festival goers off into the world that she clearly runs. All hail!
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(Photos: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)