By normal standards, it would be unfair to expect anyone to pack in the same levels of energy, dancing and violent hair flipping into a two-hour show as Beyoncé managed for her 10-minute Super Bowl performance earlier this year.
But if she was worried about failing to match up to the public's high expectations for her eagerly-anticipated 'Mrs Carter Show' tour, it never once showed during the first of a six-night residency at London's O2 Arena last night.
The star opened the show in suitably ostentatious fashion decked in regal, 18th Century France attire that eventually led into 'Run The World (Girls)', which was accompanied by a routine of faux kicking her male dancers even when they were down.
From female empowerment the pace took a dramatic turn, thanking her fans for their "loyalty" before giving a teary performance of 'Flaws and All'; a track taken from the deluxe version of her 2006 album B'Day that certainly tested the crowd's knowledge of her back catalogue.
Packing 25+ songs into her set, the dancing remained vigorous and the pace blistering throughout despite a lack of obvious crowd-pleasing numbers in the first half. Instead, she opted for fan favourites 'Freakum Dress' and 'I Care' - though rather than coming off as self-indulgent, her lack of reliance on the hits felt more a testament to her discography.
It wasn't until she flew across to a second stage that the hits were fired out thick and fast - 'Irreplaceable', 'Love On Top', 'Survivor' - before zip-lining back for 'Crazy In Love' and 'Single Ladies'. It was a section that provided a much-needed moment of light relief.
She then performed new song 'Grown Woman', a track that any self-respecting fan would recognise from her recent Pepsi commercial. Accompanied by entirely separate African-inspired costumes and imagery, it offered an exciting taster/salivating insight into her elusive new album.
Closing with a mash-up of Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' and 'Halo', Beyoncé proved that with or without the bombast, fireworks and glittering leotards, as a live performer she continues to reign supreme.
Review by Digital Spy