The Verizon Ladies First Tour
|Tour by Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Missy Elliott|
|Start date||March 12, 2004|
|End date||April 21, 2004|
|No. of shows||30 in North America|
|Box office||$22 million ($27.90 in 2017 dollars)|
The Verizon Ladies First Tour was a co-headlining concert tour by American recording artists Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Missy Elliott. Canadian artist Tamia was featured as a special guest. The tour, dubbed the "urban Lilith Fair" supported Elliott's fifth studio album, This Is Not a Test!; Keys' second studio album, The Diary of Alicia Keys and Knowles' first studio album, Dangerously in Love. The trek visited the United States performing in over twenty cities in March and April. The outing was the first three-act show to feature three female R&B artist in a headlining role. It became one of the biggest tours in 2004, placing 34th on Pollstar's "Top Tours of 2004"—earning over 22 million dollars. The success of the tour promoted a 2005 leg but the plans were scrapped and Verzion focused on creating the Verizon VIP Tour.
The tour was originally supposed to feature Beyonce with Ashanti, Monica, and Mary J. Blige but scheduling conflicts caused the other three ladies not to be up for the tour. When the tour was officially announced, it was Beyonce, along with Keys, Elliott, and Tamia joining the bill. The tour was announced by various media outlets in January 2004. Conceived by Verizon Communications, the tour was sponsored by Steve Madden and L'Oréal. Hayman Entertainment and Clear Channel Entertainment served as tour promoters. Costumes were designed by Dolce & Gabbana. When the tour was announced, Knowles dispelled any conflict while touring. She says all three acts are good friends and there will be no competitiveness. All three acts expressed their interest in performing in a tour of this nature. It became the first tour highlighting women in the urban music scene. Knowles stated:
"Even before I started putting my album together last year, I wanted to get together a tour with other women. I know that you have a lot of types of tours with other types of artists, but not just strictly hip-hop and R&B women".
The tour was lauded by critics and spectators. Although most reviews praised the ensemble, many felt Keys and Knowles were the stars of the show. Neil Drumming of Entertainment Weekly thought Keys was the most "radiant" performer of the evening at the Office Depot Center. He felt, "Her old-school references charmed, and her clap-along 'How Come You Don't Call Me' obliterated the CD version. Mounting the piano, tickling keys with one hand, she struck a quirky balance between class and kitsch". Jon Parles from The New York Times wrote all the ladies "earned their due" during the concert at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. He continued, "The three headliners have made their way in a hip-hop culture that largely treats women as playthings and conquests. Their response has been to play along while making modest demands of their own. In the meantime, they're willing to work like superwomen".
Unlike the previous reviews, Steve Hammer of the newspaper NUVO was not impressed with the show at the Conseco Fieldhouse. He states the show felt "inconsequential". He further explained, "Any show featuring three multiplatinum recording artists is bound to struggle against time limitations. But the problems plaguing each of the three fine artists — Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé — was not that the sets were so short, but that they were so meaningless".
High praised continued as the act performed at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. Portsia Smith of The Free Lance–Star says the show was a night of "talent" and "beauty". She spoke highly of all the acts but says Keys was the most in-demand for the audience. She elaborates, "She wowed the audience members, who probably thought she would just sit at her piano and sang. But how wrong were they". Keys received another positive review from Stephen Kiehl from The Baltimore Sun who states, "But the most astute set closer belonged to Keys, who sang 'You Don't Know My Name' from her new album. The song features a one-sided cell phone conversation between a coffee shop waitress and the guy she has a crush on. She asks him out, but then loses the signal".
Ben Johnson of the newspaper The Day wrote the show at the Hartford Civic Center was nothing short of "decadence". He continues, "[...] became a rallying point of girl power fit for an appearance by the Powerpuff Girls". The highlight of the tour was the concert at Madison Square Garden. The show feature guest appearances from Big Boi, Fabolous, Jay-Z, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Stephen Reid of MTV News felt that throughout the entire show, Knowles was the star. He says, "If Muhammad Ali had been at Madison Square Garden Monday night, no doubt he would've found something to pound like a drum as he yelled, 'The champ is here! The champ is here!' That's exactly the aura Beyoncé gave off as she began her closing set of the Verizon Ladies First Tour, which also features Alicia Keys, Missy Elliott and Tamia". Reid also gave rave reviews for Keys' section of the show. "Fittingly, she started with 'Heartburn', shaking her body like Ike-era Tina Turner, causing a sudden rise in blood pressure among the men in the audience. The sex appeal was being poured all over Madison Square like milk on Cheerios".
Jennifer Wood of East Valley Tribune enjoyed the show at the America West Arena. She says, "From the moment Elliott appeared on stage wearing a black suit covered in rhinestones to Beyonce's exit nearly four hours later, the audience rarely sat as it ogled three of the most celebrated female talents in hip-hop and R&B". San Francisco Chronicle's Neva Chonin says the concert at The Arena in Oakland proved why Knowles is a star. She says, "In a time of assembly-line pop icons, she manages to infuse her packaged performance with charisma and genuine talent. Her vocal workouts on ballads like 'Dangerously in Love 2' clambered smoothly up and down the scales".
|March 12, 2004||Sunrise||United States||Office Depot Center||Tamia||20,666 / 21,935||$808,378|
|March 14, 2004||New Orleans||New Orleans Arena||16,555 / 17,693||$659,606|
|March 15, 2004||Dallas||American Airlines Center||19,145 / 20,993||$444,138|
|March 17, 2004||San Antonio||SBC Center||17,123 / 18,355||$535,029|
|March 18, 2004[a]||Houston||Reliant Stadium||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|March 21, 2004||Greensboro||Greensboro Coliseum||Tamia||21,795 / 22,551||$366,003|
|March 23, 2004||Philadelphia||Wachovia Center||19,513 / 20,864||$864,919|
|March 24, 2004||Boston||FleetCenter||17,633 / 18,323||$815,963|
|March 25, 2004||Uniondale||Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum||16,511 / 17,113||$620,425|
|March 26, 2004||Hampton||Hampton Convocation Center||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|March 27, 2004||Charlotte||Dale F. Halton Arena||Tamia||7,413 / 8,568||$632,375|
|March 28, 2004||Atlanta||Philips Arena||19,789 / 20,397||$845,693|
|March 29, 2004||Cleveland||Gund Arena||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|March 30, 2004||Indianapolis||Conseco Fieldhouse||Tamia||17,365 / 18,153||$369,175|
|April 1, 2004||Minneapolis||Target Center||18,219 / 19,752||$369,287|
|April 2, 2004||Rosemont||Allstate Arena||16,133 / 17,121||$723,885|
|April 3, 2004||Auburn Hills||The Palace of Auburn Hills||21,257 / 22,491||$703,978|
|April 5, 2004||East Rutherford||Continental Airlines Arena||18,365 / 19,295||$817,340|
|April 6, 2004||Philadelphia||Wachovia Center||9,382 / 14,182||$623,428|
|April 7, 2004||Washington, D.C.||MCI Center||18,439 / 19,355||$1,708,805|
|April 9, 2004||Hartford||Hartford Civic Center||14,819 / 15,266||$609,898|
|April 10, 2004||Uniondale||Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum||12,936 / 12,936||$940,406|
|April 11, 2004||Washington, D.C.||MCI Center||[b]||[b]|
|April 12, 2004||New York City||Madison Square Garden||18,414 / 19,916||$1,110,090|
|April 15, 2004||Phoenix||America West Arena||17,145 / 18,993||$568,350|
|April 16, 2004||Paradise||MGM Grand Garden Arena||N/A||15,575 / 16,791||$778,917|
|April 17, 2004||Anaheim||Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim||Tamia||16,199 / 17,658||$1,616,943|
|April 18, 2004||Oakland||The Arena in Oakland||18,691 / 19,333||$1,644,858|
|April 20, 2004|
|April 21, 2004||Anaheim||Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim||[c]||[c]|
|TOTAL||280,865 / 363,097 (77%)||$19,177,889|
- The March 18, 2004 concert in Houston, Texas at the Reliant Stadium was a part of the Spring Break Stampede.
- The score data is representative of the both shows in Washington, D.C. at the MCI Center on April 7 and April 11 respectively.
- The score data is representative of the both shows in Anaheim, California at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim on April 17 and April 21 respectively.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- Patel, Joseph (28 January 2004). "Beyonce, Alicia Keys And Missy Elliott Plan Spring Tour". MTV News. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Ladies First Tour Sets Bar for R&B Outings". Yahoo! News. 8 May 2004. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "2004 Top 100 Tours". Pollstar Online. Pollstar, Inc. 7 March 2005. Archived from the original on 8 March 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Ladies First Trek Sets Bar For R&B Outings". Billboard. 116 (20): 18. 15 May 2004. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Dolce & Gabbana Design Exclusive Wardrobes for Beyonce and Missy Elliott for the Verizon ``Ladies First Tour 2004" (Press release). Business Wire. 23 March 2004. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Moss, Corey (6 February 2004). "Missy Predicts Friendly Competition On Tour With Alicia, Beyonce". VH1 News. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Gibson, Kendis (18 March 2004). "Beyonce, Missy, Alicia hit road for 'Ladies First Tour'". CNN. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Jones, Steve (9 March 2004). "For ladies of hip-hop, R&B, a musical 'First'". USA Today. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Drumming, Neil (2 April 2004). "Tour Report: Ladies First". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Paroles, Jon (27 March 2004). "POP REVIEW; Ladies of Hip-Hop, Receiving Their Due". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Hammer, Steve (7 April 2004). "Show review – Verizon Ladies First Tour". NUVO. NUVO, Inc. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Smoth, Portsia (15 April 2004). "Beyoncé! Alica! Tamia!". The Free Lance–Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. pp. 11 (Weekender). Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Kiehl, Stephen (9 April 2004). "Keys proving to be first lady of tour". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
- Johnson, Ben (11 April 2004). "Four divas show it is always 'Ladies First' in Hartford". The Day. New London, Connecticut. pp. D6. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Reid, Stephen (13 April 2004). "First Among Equals: Beyonce Steals The Show At Ladies First". MTV News. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Wood, Jennifer (16 April 2004). "Beyonce and friends thrill Phoenix crowd". East Valley Tribune. Freedom Communications. Archived from the original on 4 November 2004. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
- Chonin, Neva (10 April 2004). "Beyonce, Keys, Elliott do the diva number in Oakland". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "The Verizon Ladies First Tour Starring Beyonce, Alicia Keys, & Missy Elliott With Special Guest Tamia" (Press release). PR Newswire. 10 February 2004. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Box score data:
- "Billboard Boxscore – Concert Grosses". Billboard. 117 (15): 18. 10 April 2004. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Billboard Boxscore – Concert Grosses". Billboard. 117 (16): 19. 17 April 2004. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Billboard Boxscore – Concert Grosses". Billboard. 117 (17): 21. 24 April 2004. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Billboard Boxscore – Concert Grosses". Billboard. 117 (19): 16. 8 May 2004. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Billboard Boxscore – Concert Grosses". Billboard. 117 (20): 19. 15 May 2004. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- "Rodeo parade draws thousands downtown". Houston Chronicle. 1 March 2004. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.