Like, I don’t mean to shout at you but… no one was out there doubting whether or not She would deliver, right? There was never any question that the return of Beyoncé would be another cultural reset, another standard, another level higher – even though she’d already established that she is unmatched several lower levels ago. It was only ever a matter of just how much she could out-great even herself. As we all know now, as we all have known for years now, there are no limits when it comes to the Queen. 


This is how I spent yesterday afternoon – switching from one livestream to the other to Twitter and back watching Beyoncé’s first performance in Stockholm on the Renaissance World Tour. There are some people who prefer to go into a concert not knowing much, and if you are one of those people, and you have tickets for later on in the tour, you may want to consider jumping off to another post. My tickets for Beyoncé are for the Toronto show on July 8 but I need the spoilers and I need the lead time. Because the way I see it, with Beyoncé and her level of preparation and her attention to detail, details that layer and loop on top and all around themselves, a concert or a film or an album or a video is so much more than its singular moment. It’s impossible, at least for me, to fully grasp everything that Beyoncé puts into her work in just three hours. Beyoncé requires scholarship – this is why she’s the greatest entertainer of our time; I need to study for her! 

The transitions in music could be its own project. One of the highlight features of Renaissance, the album, is how the tracks were arranged, and how they flowed into each other. That energy continues on tour as it would appear that particular attention was paid to the moments between songs. She samples her own discography, she samples other artists, and all of it is meant to illuminate the history and the depth of dance music which of course is the guiding theme of Renaissance. And you know she’s not just jamming in any old song that works – she’s lining up beats and sounds and grooves, and sure you don’t have to know all of it to enjoy the sh-t out of the show, but that’s the work she put in because she is a music historian at this point, and also a student of music. And if Beyoncé is still a student, I f-cking need to be a student. Which is my longwinded ass explanation of why I’m all about watching everything and consuming whatever I can before I go. At the same time, I’m not doing all the homework for you! Professor Beyoncé would not approve. So… maybe just a few highlights? 


Let’s start with the pre-show screen – it’s bars and tone but done up in the colours of the progress flag. 

And then the bathrooms:


Club Renaissance was a safe space. Because the ball scene where dance and disco first originated was a safe space for the queer community. And there is no way Beyoncé is going on tour without upholding that ideal. 

Once the show started, remember when I posted yesterday that Beyoncé announced in the tour book that she was her own opening act, the main event, and her own encore? Four ballads to start… which was the “opening act”. 

And then it was Renaissance time – the dance floor was open, the dance party began. This is how she worked that idea into the run of show with, naturally, a whole new futuristic stage visual: 

That included robot arms: 


Which also functioned as a wardrobe assist:

And what of the visuals? The visuals we’ve been waiting for? Well, we’ve been admonished: 

She’s not wrong. How dare we rush her? How dare we demand that she follow our timeline instead of other way around. 

As for all the speculation that she might be injured? She did seem to be dancing more with her upper body and saving her energy in her legs, not going as hard on choreo as we’ve seen in the past. Not that it made a difference in the quality of the production or the overall spectacle. Look at this:


And the wiggle: 

But also listen to this. 

And this: 

The visuals AND the vocals! The vocals! She’s giving us everything! Even if there’s an injury!

Which means we have to bring it too. Like I’m not usually one to get dressed for a concert because I need to be comfortable, but Beyoncé is not just any artist. She spent four years putting this show together, and thought through every angle and every single note of this performance. The least we can do is come correct. And they certainly came correct in Stockholm.