It's official: Beyoncé is a legacy act.
It's admittedly a designation that might seem offputting. The label is typically reserved for artists touring years after their prime and resting on a catalogue of classic hits, not an artist packing stadiums in support of one of the most universally lauded projects of her career nor an artist whose experimentation and cultural relevance have not waned since her debut as a solo artist two decades ago.
Still, Beyoncé's Friday night concert at Hard Rock Stadium contained all the retrospective nostalgia of a greatest hits tour, even as it retained the futuristic ethos of her latest studio album, Renaissance. Clocking in at two-and-a-half hours and nearly 40 songs, the expansive seven-act set nodded to her illustrious past and teased what she might have in store for us in the future.
"This is a gratitude tour," she told the audience early on in the first set, an act consisting of a string of some of her best-known ballads, starting with "Dangerously in Love" from her Destiny's Child days and selections from her fourth album, 4. She also paid tribute to her idol Tina Turner with a rendition of "River Deep – Mountain High."
It was a decidedly slower pace than fans have come to expect from Beyoncé, who for years has been described as an "entertainer" almost pejoratively as if her over-the-top visuals and stage production superseded her raw talent as one of the greatest vocalists of her generation. Her opening set was yet another reminder that when the bells, whistles, and disco balls are removed, she has the voice and catalog to back the unparalleled success she's enjoyed for decades.
From her discipline to her dancing, Beyoncé has always portrayed herself as superhuman — a celebrity to celebrities, your fave's favorite. We don't expect a concert from her — we expect Beychella. We don't expect albums from her — we expect visual albums or full-fledged films. With Renaissance, she's managing expectations. Her refusal to release a visual component to the album has resulted in back-and-forth teasing with her fanbase, and her noticeably scaled-back dancing on this tour has fueled rumors of recovery from a foot injury.
Yet the Renaissance World Tour is a necessary reminder that Beyoncé has already given us more than she ever needed to, artistically. Still, she's shared another significant gift with us over the years: glimpses of her personal life. Nowhere during the show was that clearer than during the fourth set, when Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's firstborn, emerged onstage to crush the choreography of "My Power," a track from Beyoncé's The Gift soundtrack which is dedicated to her son, Sir Carter.
the Beyhive, who first saw her onstage in utero when Beyoncé announced her pregnancy at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards during her jubilant performance of "Love On Top." As she sang on "Flawless," from her 2013 self-titled album, she took some time to live her life after that, settling into domesticity with the most creatively fruitful decade of her career still ahead of her.
The Renaissance World Tour reminds us that it's always unclear where Beyoncé will go next — and she may very well keep us waiting for some time. But if she stopped making music today, she'd already have made enough paradigm-shifting material to pack stadiums for another 20 years to come.
- "Dangerously in Love"
- "Flaws and All"
- "I'm Going Down" (Rose Royce cover, interlude)
- "I Care"
- "River Deep – Mountain High" (Ike & Tina Turner cover)
- "I'm That Girl"
- "Alien Superstar"
- "Lift Off"
- "7/11" (interlude)
- "Cuff It"
- "Cuff It (Wetter Remix)"/"Energy"
- "Break My Soul"/"Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)"
- "Run the World (Girls)"
- "My Power" (with Blue Ivy)
- "Black Parade" (with Blue Ivy)
- "Savage Remix"
- "Partition" (interlude)
- "Church Girl"
- "Get Me Bodied"
- "Before I Let Go" (Maze cover)
- "Rather Die Young"
- "Love on Top"
- "Crazy in Love"
- "Love Hangover" (Diana Ross cover, background singers only)
- "Plastic Off the Sofa"
- "Virgo's Groove" (Medley: "Say My Name," "Cater to You," "Dance for You," "Rocket," "Speechless")
- "Naughty Girl"
- "Already" (interlude)
- "America Has a Problem"
- "Summer Renaissance"