Glitter, silver and short shorts dominated the fashion scene as Beyoncé kicked off her national tour in Philadelphia, setting the stage for an unforgettable evening of music and entertainment. The stop followed a successful European stadium tour and North American kickoff in Toronto. An entire 2 1/2 hour spectacle jumpstarted the first Renaissance date in the United States.
The sold out Lincoln Financial Center became a melting pot of diverse individuals, who embraced their unique identities and celebrated the power of self-expression. People of all shapes, sizes, colors, backgrounds, nationalities and worlds gathered, creating a vibrant tapestry of humanity that reflected the inclusive spirit of Beyoncé’s music. Renaissance, her most recent album, is a love letter to the LGBTQ+ population—and the BeyHive was in full force.
In terms of attire, nothing was off limits and none of it mattered. One person said, “It’s Beyoncé, everybody’s doing too much,” as one man flashed his bare cheeks. The affair was reminiscent of the popular show “Swarm,” where a fanatic follows a Beyoncé-like singer, highlighting the immense popularity and influence of the artist. It was all fun and love in The Linc. The atmosphere crackled with anticipation as the crowd eagerly awaited the show’s start.
As the sun began to set, a meditative melody replaced the thumping dance music, signaling a shift in energy. The delay in the start time caused restlessness among some attendees, but the unwavering BeyHive showcased their sense of community and excitement. Stage managers meticulously tested the equipment, ensuring Beyoncé’s safety. Even a trap door elicited cheers from the crowd. It was evident the moment everyone had been waiting for was approaching, as the venue buzzed with electricity.
Then it happened. Beyoncé graced the stage, radiating confidence and beauty in a lace ensemble, her signature dirty blonde tresses flowing. At 8:45 p.m. ET, the Queen exclaimed, “I love you, Philadelphia,” forcing the crowd to fall under her spell. Taking a moment to acknowledge the crowd’s diverse fashion choices, she expressed her appreciation for the effort put into emulating her iconic style.
Despite a previous ankle injury suffered overseas, Beyoncé flawlessly danced her way through the show, defying all odds. It became increasingly clear she’s the Michael Jackson of our time, captivating audiences with her unmatched talent, stage presence and ability to connect with her fans on a profound level.
Dressed in a dazzling sequined black dress, Beyoncé captivated the audience with a six-song segment accompanied by a live band, showcasing her vocal prowess. The show then seamlessly transitioned into its central theme, embracing an Afrofuturistic aesthetic and motif. It was like Janelle Monáe dropped that ball and Beyoncé picked it up then 360-dunked it.
The blizzard of beats in songs such as “I’m That Girl” and “Cozy” synchronized flawlessly with Beyoncé and her talented team of dancers, delivering sharp movements and confident choreography. Her homage to house/dance music, highlighted by tracks such as “Cuff It” and “Break My Soul,” electrified the Linc stadium with pulsating lights from every direction. Beyoncé exuded glam-infused confidence in a Barbie-pink gown, discarding her sunglasses with determination to maintain her rhythm. I’m still wondering who caught them and if they made it out alive.
A spirited rump shake during “Break My Soul” ignited the crowd, while Beyoncé’s interpolation of Madonna’s “Vogue” added to their excitement as she name-checked influential artists. A truly unforgettable (and expected) moment occurred when Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy, joined her mother’s squadron of dancers for a captivating three-song section, commencing with the empowering anthem “Run The World (Girls).” The crowd erupted joyfully at the sight of the next generation joining the iconic performer on stage.
The tour setlist predominantly featured songs from the Renaissance album, but Beyoncé also sprinkled in hits from her extensive catalog. The crowd joyfully participated in the escalating key changes of “Love on Top” before transitioning into The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” with perfect choreography to match.
The show continued with “Crazy in Love,” and then the tempo slightly decelerated with “Plastic Off the Sofa” and “Virgo’s Groove” from Renaissance. Beyoncé quickly reclaimed the audience’s attention with an encore that included a powerful message in “America Has a Problem,” adorned in a striking yellow-and-black headdress. With the American-styled red, black and green flag, this was not a normal show.
The concert was a mesmerizing experience, showcasing Beyoncé’s artistry and solidifying her status as an icon. From the explosive energy of the crowd to the masterful performances, it was an evening that will be etched in the memories of all those fortunate enough to witness it. Beyoncé continues to reign supreme, reminding us why she’s a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.
The Renaissance Setlist
1. “Dangerously In Love”
2. “Flaws and All”
3. “1 + 1″
4. “I’m Goin’ Down”
5. “I Care”
6. “River Deep, Mountain High” (Ode To Tina Turner)
7. “I’m That Girl”
9. “Alien Superstar”
10. “Lift Off”
11. “Cuff It”
13. “Break My Soul / The Queens Remix”
16. “Run the World (Girls)”
17. “My Power”
18. “Black Parade”
19. “Savage (Remix)”
21. “Church Girl”
22. “Get Me Bodied”
23. “Before I Let Go”
24. “Rather Die Young”
25. “Love on Top”
26. “Crazy in Love”
ANOINTED – PART 2
27. “Plastic Off the Sofa”
28. “Virgo’s Groove”
29. “Naughty Girl”
32. “America Has a Problem”
34. “Summer Renaissance”