For almost a year, Beyoncé’s fans have been starved of visuals for her seventh album, Renaissance.
It’s an unusual move for a star whose visual aesthetic has always been intertwined with her music.
From the bubblegum-popping, star-making video for Crazy In Love, to the multi-layered exploration of infidelity and black femininity in the visual album, Lemonade, she has always used fashion and iconography to enhance her songs.
So all eyes are on her new world tour. How will she depict Renaissance’s adventurous exploration of marginalised black and queer club music on the stage?
The stakes are as high as the anticipation. This is Beyoncé’s first solo tour in seven years, and her first concerts since her historic, politically-charged headline set at the 2018 Coachella festival.
So as the lights dim and giant, stadium-width video screens are filled with sky-blue imagery, there’s an equal sense of excitement and expectation from an audience that includes Dua Lipa, Frank Ocean, Kris Jenner and Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z.
What she unveils is an intergalactic explosion of eye-melting opulence… a trip inside a disco ball that encompasses 34 songs, a flying horse, multiple dance showdowns and choreographed robots, all tethered to the pulsing heartbeat of Renaissance’s club grooves.
But before all that, Beyoncé wrongfoots everyone.
Beyoncé took to the stage in a flowing blue ballgown long before sunset
She opens the show with four piano ballads from the start of her career – and they’re not even the big ones like Halo or Irreplaceable.
Instead, the set starts with Dangerously In Love, a Destiny’s Child song that was reworked as the title track of her first solo album, and continues with deep cuts like 1+1 and Flaws And All.