Beyoncé and Jay Z have spent their entire careers proving how different they are from other musicians.
Last year, Beyoncé upended the music industry with the surprise release of her "Beyoncé" (Columbia) album -- no preview single, no public relations blitz for months to raise her profile. Nothing. Just the music.
Jay Z also changed the industry last year by releasing his "Magna Carta ... Holy Grail" (Roc Nation) album through Samsung smartphones first, securing the equivalent of a platinum album -- and the $5 million that goes with it -- before it even went on sale.
However, Beyoncé and Jay Z's "On the Run" tour, which stops at MetLife Stadium next Friday and Saturday, marks an abrupt change of direction in the way they are presenting themselves. Now, Mr. and Mrs. Carter want to show they're just regular folks.
Simply working together is a major step for them. Though they met when they first collaborated on Beyoncé's song "03 Bonnie and Clyde" in 2002, they haven't really made a habit of teaming up much, especially in concert.
They also have worked hard to keep their personal life personal. Always guarded when it came to talking about dating each other, it was years before they actually confirmed they were married, though they did announce the birth of daughter Blue Ivy in 2012 a little faster.
For the "On the Run" tour, though, which opened last month in Miami, Beyoncé and Jay Z are opening the door to their private lives much wider than ever before.
During the opening numbers, which they perform together, Beyoncé and Jay Z show video from their wedding for the first time in public, as well as matching "IV" tattoos (Beyoncé's birthday is Sept. 4, while Jay's is Dec. 4) on their fingers. Later in the concert, they show videos of Blue Ivy's first steps.
Some speculate that all this new openness is a response to another video -- the one that shows Jay Z and sister-in-law Solange arguing in an elevator after the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala and Solange throwing some punches and kicks at Jay, while Beyoncé looks on. In a joint statement to The Associated Press after the video went viral, all three say they have moved on from the private incident.
"At the end of the day, families have problems, and we're no different," the trio said in the statement. "We love each other, and above all, we are family. We've put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same."
However, Beyoncé has been moving toward showing more of her personal life for a while -- though, as the documentary she directed herself, 2013's "Life Is But a Dream," proved, it will only be on her terms. As a rapper, Jay Z showing sentimentality is even more complicated, but he has been moving in that direction as well. In his Grammy acceptance speech this year, he said, "I want to thank God, I mean, a little bit for this award, but also all the universe for conspiring and for putting that beautiful light of a young lady in my life," pointing at Beyoncé, before adding: "I want to tell Blue, 'Look, Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you!'"
It's a strategy that is working.
Unfounded rumors have run rampant that the "On the Run" tour has had trouble selling tickets. However, according to Billboard, the tour is on pace to sell $100 million in tickets for 19 North American shows, with more than $86 million in tickets sold before the tour even began last month.
Maybe their "On the Run" celebration is a sign they are more comfortable with sharing their lives with the public now. Maybe it's a reaction to the new realities of the music industry, where fans demand a closer relationship to their heroes through Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr.
After all, more traditional divas like Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez have seen lukewarm sales for their recent releases, and neither one has a major tour on the horizon. Beyoncé, on the other hand, is focused on joining herself to all women in songs like "Flawless," where she declares, "We flawless, ladies tell 'em, 'I woke up like this.'"
Most likely, it's a combination of the two -- though, who knows, maybe Beyoncé and Jay Z are just "Drunk in Love."
WHO Beyoncé & Jay Z
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. next Friday and Saturday, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
INFO $35.50-$280.50; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
OTHER TOURING COUPLES
A CareerBuilder.com study from last year found that nearly two out of every five workers dated a co-worker, so it's no surprise that musicians date or even marry. However, until recently there weren't a whole lot of power couples like Beyoncé and Jay Z hitting the road together. That's starting to change. Here's a look at some husbands and wives who also are tour mates:
PAT BENATAR & NEIL GIRALDO
BIO She's a real tough cookie with a long history -- a Lindenhurst native who became rock's leading lady in the '80s. He's the guitarist who helped her toughen up her sound.
TOUR They headline the Paramount on Aug. 30 and return as openers for Cher on Sept. 19-20 at Madison Square Garden and Sept. 22 at Nassau Coliseum.
GARTH BROOKS & TRISHA YEARWOOD
BIO He's the biggest-selling artist of the past two decades, the country star with friends in all kinds of places. She's had nine No. 1 country songs and, more recently, launched a mini-empire of books and TV shows on cooking.
TOUR No details yet, but they have announced plans to tour together this fall.
TIM MCGRAW & FAITH HILL
BIO He's a little bit country, with 14 No. 1 country albums to his name, as well as a noted actor. She's a little bit, well, country too, with seven No. 1 country singles.
TOUR Though they performed together in Las Vegas earlier this year, McGraw is currently on tour on his own. His new single, "Meanwhile Back at Mama's," is a duet with Hill.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & PATTI SCIALFA
BIO Well, he's Bruce Springsteen. And she's the relative "newcomer" to The E Street Band, arriving in 1984 to play guitar and sing background vocals. As of this year, they are both in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
TOUR Somehow, the "High Hopes" tour hasn't hit our area yet, though that is expected to change later this year.
WIN BUTLER & RÉGINE CHASSAGNE
BIO They both sing in Grammy-winning Arcade Fire. He plays guitar. She plays a bunch of instruments, including accordion.
MARRIED In 2003, same year Arcade Fire was born.
TOUR Their "Reflektor" tour stops at Barclays Center Aug. 22-24.