On Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour, the World Is Her Ball

It was a crowd dressed up and dancing for a rodeo in the distant future. It was the shiny cowboy hat, silver fringe, quirky sunglasses and other outfit details that marked Beyoncé’s dazzling seventh album and her first solo opportunity, “Renaissance.” Her first tour in seven years. But when the imperial pop superstar took to the stage at Toronto’s Rogers Center on Saturday night for the first North American performance of her Renaissance World Tour, she had an audience ready to head to the club. to remind them who is responsible. Because she was going to make them wait a little longer if they were preparing to move.

Gearing up for a two-and-a-half-hour performance that’s visually spectacular, vocally ambitious, and at times tonally confusing, Beyoncé, 41, donned a shimmering chainmail mini dress and led the show for nearly half an hour. started. A series of ballads and deep cuts that recall her past: an acrobatic solo performance of the 2001 Destiny’s Child song “Dangerously in Love”, included on the deluxe edition of her 2007 album B’Day. Part of “Flaws and All,” which has been played, and 2011’s sparse, soulful “1+1,” she played on a mirrored piano.

It was both a display of her vocal agility and a strangely traditional way of starting the show around an album as conceptually bold and forward-thinking as “Renaissance.” Dance is an expansive, purposefully referenced album of musical history. Focus on the contributions of black and queer innovators. Instead, it was Beyoncé’s medieval stopover.

But as a live entertainer, she’s had a fresh start. The Renaissance World Tour show will be Beyoncé’s first since her dazzling, majestic performance headlining the 2018 Coachella Festival (later released as a concert film and live album, Homecoming). which marked the culmination of a sort of mic drop into her career. ever. It is futile to repeat it, and difficult to go beyond. The loose, fluid “Renaissance” is still said to be the first part of a trilogy, and represents a new chapter in Beyoncé’s recorded work. And as the show finally found its center, belatedly welcoming audiences into a renaissance, it also heralded her maturity as a performer.

Projected on panoramic screens in diamond-clear resolution, the show looks like Fritz Lang’sbig city‘ was taken from the 1990 Drag Ball documentary Paris Is Burning. After a lengthy video introduction, Beyoncé emerged from her chrome cocoon to perform a thrilling stretch of the first suite of “Renaissance” songs. In “Cozy,” the most striking thing was that a pair of hydraulic robotic arms placed her body in the center of an industrial picture frame, like a post-human Mona Lisa.

When Beyoncé kicked off her Renaissance World Tour in Europe in May, her choreography was a little more static and less stomping than usual, suggesting she was recovering from a leg injury. Rumors swirled. At a show in Toronto, he couldn’t shake off that chatter, but he also showed it didn’t matter all that much. Perhaps due to some constraints, Beyoncé embraced new means of physical expression. She brings the flavors of ball movement to the show, serving her face all night long, curling her lips like a hungry predator, widening her eyes in false amazement, and exaggerating disgust. shrunk her face.

Of course, there weren’t many seats in the stadium with a clear view of Beyoncé’s face, but the screens made up for that. She deftly performed for a camera that tracked her every choreographed move, showing how she would appear to a large audience and, perhaps just as importantly, in a FOMO-inducing social media video. I was conscious of The stage itself was breathtaking, with arcing cut-outs on the screen creating a playful visual, but its grandeur was hidden from many side seats, and the band and, in some cases, the dancers. became difficult to see.

However, the screen was the point. Beyoncé’s two solo releases prior to Renaissance (2013’s self-titled album and 2016’s Lemonade) were “visual albums” featuring fully realized music videos for each track. was advertised as. Once again at the mercy of fans’ expectations, she has yet to release a video from “Renaissance”, giving further impact to the never-before-seen graphics that fill the vast background, and between costume changes. It feels heavy rather than a convenient way to kill time. .

Many of the tour’s outfits struck a balance between Beyoncé’s signature style and “Renaissance” futuristic trends, such as megawatt glitter, high-cut bodysuits. She played the haute couture bee in a custom Mugler by Casey Cadwalader and let her sparkle out in a crystal-encrusted Gucci corset. But the night’s most memorable look was so instantly iconic that some fans had already tried to recreate it from photos from the European show, but it was a skin-toned look by Spanish brand Loewe. It was a catsuit. hand.

Throughout the set, Beyoncé interpolated and weaved the songs of her predecessors into her own, as if placing her own music within a larger continuum. The epic “I Care” was followed by parts like “River Deep, Mountain High,” which pays tribute to Tina Turner, who passed away in May. The hilarious throwback “Love on Top” contained elements of The Jackson 5’s “Want You Back.” Most effective was her “Queen’s Remix” of “Break My Soul,” a mashup of lead single “Renaissance” and Madonna’s “Vogue,” which was queer ball before her. It was a tribute to mainstream pop stars who brought culture to the masses. (Renaissance merch sold at her pop-up shop just days before the show included a hand-held fan with the song title “Heated” on it for her $40. It sold out.)

The show has moments that feel conceptually cluttered and at odds with the sharp vision of the album Renaissance, including quotes from dorm room posters of Albert Einstein and Jim Morrison that fill the screen during video montages. was occasionally included. Arriving in a lively “formation” midway through, Beyoncé and her dancers appeared in camouflage, on prop military vehicles and the occasional writhing. The moment she and her entourage raised her fists in the air was the power of a wordless gesture. annoyed Some viewers of the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show were easily criticized. But even when Beyoncé called for more concrete forms of protest and political awareness, they weren’t articulated, especially at a time when drag culture and queer representation are under threat both at home and abroad. .

Beyoncé’s perseverance as a world-class performer remained the show’s raison d’etre. She is one of those rare major pop stars who appreciates her live vocal talent. By the end of the long night, on a particularly memorable closing number, the disco revelation “Summer Renaissance,” she rises above the crowd like a god on a radiant horse, stretching her microphone to treble. sounded a part of To her devoted and loving fans. “Until next time,” she said, keeping her jokes on stage relatively minimal. “Drive safely home!”

Beyoncé still seems to strive for perfection even when embracing a style and culture known for its improvisational looseness. Contest smiles always threaten to break out stinking faces. Commanding an audience the size of a stadium, she was an introvert in extrovert armor. Her tension is part of both her endless charm and her occasional limitations as a performer. And that makes her moments of true spontaneity all the more precious.

Not surprisingly, #RenaissanceWorldTour was trending on Twitter long after the show ended. The clip that went viral It was unplanned. During an enthusiastic performance of his early hit “Diva,” Beyoncé accidentally dropped her sunglasses. She fiddled with them for a moment, cursed them as they fell to the ground, and gave her a hearty shrug before snapping into her choreographed formation. For a moment she still looked human.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button