On September 10, 2016, thousands of St. Louis locals gathered at “America’s Center Dome” to witness the one night production of Beyonce’s “Formation World Tour.” Beyonce last visited St. Louis in December of 2013 to perform her surprise album, “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.” The Dome, used in the past as the St. Louis Rams official stadium, had not served as a musical venue since hosting the One Direction concert in 2014. The tour production team transformed the blank Dome into her Beyhive and catwalk. The show nearly sold out and those attending agreed Beyonce “slayed” every second of the unforgettable two hour performance. The show included thirty songs paired with mesmerizing videos and graphics, illustrating the spectacle behind her controversial album. Although her newest album renders infidelity it is expertly paired with rebellious genre defying tracks to create a “visual album.” Needless to say, when Clayton Alumni, Jayson Lawshee, was offered a position to assist in the production of the St. Louis show, he eagerly accepted.
Lawshee received information about the show through his school, Webster University. “The head of production at Webster sent out an email saying that the local union forge station was looking for people to help out that weekend for the Beyoncé concert,” said Lawshee. “He sent out an email looking for people who were interested and qualified, I responded to the email with my basic employment information, and then I had the job!”
In a production of such magnitude, employment of a full time crew is required for set design and technical proficiency. Nonetheless, Lawshee and his peers assisted in the helping the production run smoothly.
“I basically helped with things after the concert,” said Lawshee. “We fixed the lights, put the Dome back together. This was my first concert to work at, it was really inspiring.”
Through his experience backstage, Lawshee could not help but admire the extraordinary performance.
“I was standing right next to a band, it was so cool because Beyonce was so close to me. I was kind of freaking out and I didn’t know what to do! I was like ‘can I snapchat this? What is even going on?’ It was amazing.” However, Jason would have never gotten to have such an experience had he not begun his career at Clayton High School.
During his years at Clayton High School, Lawshee devoted his efforts to the theater department serving as an extremely valuable member of the technological crew in numerous school productions. As a result of his passion in serving the theater department, Lawshee developed a passion for technical design. As a freshman at Webster University, Lawshee currently studies light design. Ultimately, Lawshee hopes to follow his passion and work backstage for many famous pop-stars some day.
“In the future, I hope to design for Beyoncé and travel the world with someone,” said Lawshee. “One of my goals for once I graduate college and be able to do these things professionally all the time.”
Not only was Lawshee able to experience Beyonce’s outstanding performance, but many CHS students also witnessed the “Formation World Tour.” Mia Redington and Catherine Walsh, CHS juniors, watched the mesmerizing show and were inspired by Beyoncé’s performance.
“She is a goddess,” said Redington. “Her singing was flawless and her dancing was incredible. She really did slay the concert.”
Walsh also agrees: “The concert was epic. Beyoncé was so amazing. I have never seen such a spectacular performance, and I totally want to go to another of [Beyoncé’s] concerts.”
Ultimately, Beyoncé displayed an unforgettable show. Her dynamic dances and gospel-like songs created an uplifting atmosphere that hovered throughout the entire dome. During her concert, Beyoncé provided the audience with a new perspective and gave a powerful feeling of catharsis. Because of Beyoncé’s phenomenal production, everyone will always remember the special evening.