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Made In America: Beyonce And Beyond

By Michael Cerio

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- "I'm so happy to celebrate my birthday with y'all"

Those were Beyonce's words as she exited the stage after a staggeringly packed hour and half performance on the Parkway to close out day one of Made In America 2015.

Long before the Queen appeared, the Parkway was filled for the sold out 4th edition of the festival.

Made In America is a Budweiser event, a fact that is inescapable as you walk from stage to stage. Red and white everywhere, exclusivity on the beer served, and pop up bars and villages to accentuate how American and cool it is to drink Bud. To their credit, for today it did seem cool. In the greatest beer city in the country, one that typically runs on Yuengling and craft beer, Budweiser managed to seem perfectly at home. It always helps when you bring a barber shop, an arcade, and a bunch of your favorite bands.

The day began with New Jersey's Young Rising Sons, serving up energetic pop rock to the few early arrivers. In wasn't until rapper Earl Sweatshirt took the stage that you could feel the crowd swell. Earl Sweatshirt, who's much more alive on stage than on tape, grooved through his set often announcing that he was going to drink some water. It could have been a hydration message or a cotton mouth situation, either way he seemed empathic as the sea of people nodded along. The crowd soon migrated towards the main stage for a set from Chicago rapper Vic Mensa. The mixtape specialist turned it up a notch as his DJ played Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", before launching back into his set.

Made In America also featured a big contingent of Philadelphia bands, mostly featured on the festival's Skate stage Saturday. Creepoid overcame technical issues to deliver a textured set before Hop Along took the stage. The Frances Quinlan fronted group showed why they have become critical darlings in the past couple months since releasing their album Painted Shut. The way in which Quinlan contorts her voice is even more amazing to see in person, as she rolls her eyes towards the sun as if to summon her raspy growl. Following Hop Along was both Philadelphia's Waxahatcee, and Strand Of Oaks. The latter chugging through tunes from his raw and personal album Heal.

Back on the main stage, Nick Jonas continued his reinvention. The songs are sexier and the dance moves are bigger, but he still had a sweet Jonas Brothers quality to him as he interacted with the Parkway crowd. It could have been a sugary primer for the rapid rugged assault that would follow from Meek Mill. Mill was intense as he spit about the streets and talked about being the same person he's always been, but playful as he brought out son to dance to the Nae Nae. All enjoyed watching him whip, and equally enjoyed watching him Nae Nae.

The big moment though came courtesy of Nicki Minaj. The singer, rapper, and new captain of the "What's Good Miley?" club made a surprise appearance and performance with Meek Mill, asking the crowd to give it up for her baby daddy. Well, that's one way to trend on Twitter. This isn't the first time Minaj has dropped the "baby daddy" title for Mill in concert. She said something similar during their Pinkprint Tour in August, and the internet ran out of hashtags. No word on if it's officially a pregnancy, or if the baby will one day drop a diss track on Drake's baby to avenge the sins of this generation.

Perhaps overwhelmed by the possibility of a Mill-Minaj super-rapper, or storing energy for Queen Bey, the crowd seemed to die down during performances from Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse. During Modest Mouse, the pavement was a sea of passed out people and paper plates, both likely the aftershocks of pizza and time.
Bassnectar ripped through an hour long bass infused set, but the main event was set. Beyonce was in the building. Or on the Art Museum steps. She was here.

As 10:30pm hit, the piano keys rang out for her sexified 50 Shade Of Grey version of "Crazy In Love". What followed was a hyped up original performance of her 2003 hit, and full scale non-stop adventure for the next hour and a half.

Beyonce has confidence and swagger for days, breaking away from her latest self-titled album just long enough to present retooled amplified versions of her hits that preceded. Wardrobe changes through feminist interludes were the only time that Ms. Carter wasn't all in dancing and singing. In fact, the only time she was slowed down was by an awkward stagehand helping her don a sequined Sixers dress. The Sixers managing to be the worst, even at a Beyonce show.

Bey slowed it down with songs like "XO" and "Halo", but eventually picked it back up again to close out the night with "Single Ladies". As a whole, nobody performs like Beyonce. With so much singular spotlight, she manages to remain, well flawless.

Sunday, everyone heads back to the Parkway for day two of Made In America, headlined by The Weekend. An artist with the number one song and album in the country, but still, must bow down to Beyonce.

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