I was part of this bunch as I blissfully pranced in the bathroom mirror, paging nostalgically through Beyoncé’s discography on Apple Music ahead of her RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR stop at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.eople often pregame before heading to a live concert.
“Survivor,” the title track from Destiny’s Child’s 2001 album, played on shuffle. The lyrics, “Even in my years to come, I’m still gon’ be here,” encapsulate the singer’s enduring success. The bustling venue, adored home of the Carolina Panthers, was proof Wednesday night that she remains in high demand and at her best.
It has been a decade since Beyoncé last performed in the Queen City, back in 2013 as part of her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. On her return, she became the first woman to headline the Bank of America Stadium in its nearly 30-year history. Her large fan base eagerly awaited her comeback, and they showed up in style.
Most attendees sported silver and sparkling prints, rodeo-inspired looks, and graphic tees featuring Beyoncé and her legendary Uncle Johnny, whom she said inspired her most recent album. Other attendees, mainly the Black queer community, embraced even bolder fashion statements, using the stadium as their runway and receiving genuine compliments from fellow attendees.
As reported online by concertgoers, Beyoncé’s recent leg of shows have not started at its appointed hour. In fairness, it’s all for good reason. A massive no-signal TV screen backdrop hinted at crew working through last-minute kinks. The crew, dressed as space pilots, tested the smoke machine and stage drone before the show. They also auditioned clusters of the audience on their scream volume.
At 8:54 PM, the lights dimmed and the backdrop transformed into fluffy clouds. The screen flickered, showing a gigantic Beyoncé lounging in chrome star pasties, sporting large hair. The caffeinated audience erupted in shouts and applause.
She then angelically ascended from the flooring in a mesh black leotard and gloves and puffed veil, revisiting her debut album with an inimitable rendition of “Dangerously In Love.”
Audibly delighted to be breathing the same air as her, the audience spent the first act of Beyoncé’s almost three-hour performance singing along at full strength with cuts such as the cloying “Flaws & All” and the well-worn “I’m Going Down.”
By far her grandest moment of this segment was “I Care,” where she sounded almost identical to the recorded version. But, before closing out this portion of the show, Beyoncé proudly illustrated an enormous depth of love and respect for the late Tina Turner in a fine version of “River Deep – Mountain High.”
No one could accuse Beyoncé of having long breaks or risking an energy dip with prolonged pauses. She smoothly exited the stage, changed into another fierce costume, and quickly returned, even more intriguing and in control than before.
That latter fact is much in evidence when Beyoncé welcomed the audience to RENAISSANCE, the second act, also known as the “House of Chrome” where she cited herself reborn.
Beyoncé gloriously constructed this section of the show to swiftly bat a keen eye at the past and stare curiously at the future. She transformed out of a silver robot armor, reminiscent of her 2007 BET Awards performance, before launching into “I’M THAT GIRL,” the mercilessly blunt opener from RENAISSANCE. Two more album tracks followed, including, of course, “COZY,” the most luminous bulb of the set, in which Beyoncé served allure and aggression.
“Y’all are good,” Beyoncé praised the crowd, testing their alertness with a second “eerbody on mute” challenge after singing a lively rendition of “Before I Let Go.” Fans had almost received their tens for successfully completing the planned challenge when she performed “ENERGY” during the MOTHERBOARD segment that night.
Online chatter has persisted that Beyoncé has purposefully slighted Erykah Badu and Lizzo amid overblown shade and unnerving allegations while performing the “BREAK MY SOUL (The QUEENS REMIX).” But, to the surprise of many, she shut down the hoopla with their inclusion in the video and on the mic.
Beyoncé kept her guests on edge, teasing a performance from her underrated album, 4. Many around assumed she was going into the big crowd-pleasing hit “Love On Top” but surprised everyone by singing “I Rather Die Young,” even though the mic setup recalled the former’s music video.
She didn’t keep anxious supporters waiting long before going into the requested tune. By Beyoncé’s speechless eyes, it was clear that she was pleasantly impressed with their elastic lung power during the sing-along chorus.
The show’s expected climax came not when Beyoncé tore into choreographed routines of “Formation” and “Diva” as part of the OPULENCE segment but when Blue Ivy, the first child of The Carter dynasty, rose from beneath the stage to join her mother, eliciting even louder cheers from the crowd. As Blue fit in with the other dancers clad in blue attire, the question of when she would be introduced as the next pop phenomenon hung in the air.
The second part of the ANOINTED section of the show should not be understated. Beyoncé admirably gave the floor to her four Black, amazingly gifted backing vocalists, all of whom are women. The quartet covered Diana Ross’ 1976 track “Love Hangover” for a seductive performance that had many wanting to throw a shoe in a lionizing manner.
When Beyoncé wasn’t nodding to earlier records that she performed solo and as part of Destiny’s Child such as “Cater 2 U” and “Dance For You” during “VIRGO’S GROOVE,” she was activated with her nearly breathless chants in her “HEATED” performance.
Beyoncé left no crumbs in the fleeting MIND CONTROL segment, cruising through “AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM” and “PURE/HONEY” in her bumblebee suit. Her slick maneuvering and glitch step sequence for the former track was a marvel to behold.
Meanwhile, before Beyoncé descended underneath the stage, she dedicated the latter track, which contains a soundbite from Moi Renee’s underground club hit “Miss Honey,” to “the legendary Beyhive.”
“I want y’all to know that this is my gratitude tour. After 25 years, I’m still able to do what I love to do.” – Beyoncé
What else can be appreciated from this show-stopping event was you got a sense that the LGBTIQA+ community, specifically Black queer people, have a place in the world. That was abundantly clear as they paraded confidently through the stadium with their chins up in their fanciest getup, making their presence felt and accepted as if they were reciting Beyoncé’s “MOVE” in their head as they sashayed.
Dedication and comfort were prominent themes of the night, reflected in the attire of not only the queer community but also women of all colors. I spent hours before the show looking for a cowboy hat to complete my outfit that felt me.
Elsewhere, several people did double-takes of attendees to ensure they weren’t missing a chance to take a photo with Queen Bey herself.
Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR is a further example of the kind of performer all artists, at all levels of their career, should strive to be. It’s not that she needs a victory lap to prove what she’s already capable of. If you ask me, she’s still in her prime, showing us what hard work and longevity look like.
“I want y’all to know that this is my gratitude tour. After 25 years, I’m still able to do what I love to do,” Beyoncé said to the crowd earlier in the night. And she’s telling the truth here. I can attest to her talent and staying power.
See Beyoncé’s remaining RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR dates below.
Beyoncé Renaissance World Tour: North American Leg
Aug 11 – Atlanta, GA @ Mercedes Benz Stadium
Aug 16 – Tampa, FL @ Raymond James Stadium
Aug 18 – Miami, FL @ Hard Rock Stadium
Aug 21 – St. Louis, MI @ The Dome at America’s Center
Aug 24 – Phoenix, AZ @ State Farm Stadium
Aug 26 – Las Vegas, NV @ Allegiant Stadium
Aug 30 – San Francisco, CA @ Levi’s Stadium
Sep 1 – Los Angeles, CA @ SoFi Stadium
Sep 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ SoFi Stadium
Sep 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ SoFi Stadium
Sep 11 – Vancouver, CA at BC Place
Sep 13 – Seattle, WA @ Lumen Field
Sep 18 – Kansas City, KS @ Arrowhead Stadium
Sep 21 – Dallas, TX @ AT&T Stadium
Sep 23 – Houston, TX @ NRG Stadium
Sep 27 – New Orleans, LA @ Caesars Superdome
For more ticket information, visit tour.beyonce.com.