“Don’t even waste your time trying to compete with me / No one else in this world can think like me”, declares Beyoncé on the sleek, hamming ‘Alien Superstar’ before she turns her gaze outward and uplifts those around her.
That feel-good, sci-fi spectacle came to life for the fifth and final show of Beyoncé’s residency at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. When the UK leg of her global ‘Renaissance’ tour was announced back in February, the stadium breached its licence to keep up with demand and over the past five nights, everyone from Dua Lipa to Ariana Grande and Frank Ocean has been to watch the show.
And what a show it is. An all-out celebration of Beyoncé’s own abilities, with slick dance routines and relentless flawless vocals, the near-three-hour gig sees the Queen comfortable with her crown.
Rather than your standard showcase of her greatest hits, tonight’s set pulls heavily from 2022’s Renaissance, proving it truly is an album of “no skips”. Meanwhile, other tracks from across Beyoncé’s impressive back catalogue that speak to the same sense of liberation and fierce defiance are threaded throughout. There’s no space for ‘Halo’, ‘Drunk In Love’ or ‘Single Ladies’ but it’s impossible to argue with the tropical hammer of ‘Heated’ or the snarling disco stomp of ‘Pure/Honey’.
A stadium epic in every sense of the word, the concert is punctuated by fireworks, costume changes and a gigantic video screen. Despite all the polish though, the show also lets Beyoncé’s personality shine.
A calm opening acts as a prologue to the dazzling party that’s about to unfurl, with Beyoncé rising from the stage floor to sing the title track to her debut album Dangerously In Love, to begin the show.
It’s the sort of gorgeous, delicate song that can cause 60,000 people to break out in goosebumps, and Beyoncé seems genuinely moved by the screams, fighting back tears to tell the crowd “I’m so thankful and I’m so grateful. Thank you for your loyalty, this is my dream. I worked so hard, I look at all your faces and I feel honoured.”
She follows it up with the big band glitz of ‘Flaws And All’ and a soaring ‘I Care’, turning the stadium into an intimate Vegas club. “There’s a whole lot of love in here right now,” she grins before the show transports the audience to The Renaissance: a place of rebirth, freedom and celebration.
What comes next is a fantastical extravaganza that twists escapism around defiance. From the unapologetic party-starting ‘Cuff It’ to the jubilant parade of ‘Break My Soul’, Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ is energetic and communal. Her 11-year-old daughter Blue Ivy leads dance routines for ‘My Power’ and ‘Black Parade’ while her band and backing vocalists are regularly given a space to shine and it never feels like filler.
There are moments of pointed politics as well, with the Jim Morrison quote “whoever controls the media, controls the mind” displayed in 30-foot letters before Beyoncé offers “the truth” while playing the part of a newsreader on KNTY news for ‘America Has A Problem’.
The show never takes itself too seriously though. At one point, Beyoncé is wrapped up in a duvet to end ‘Cozy’ while robots regularly engage in dance routines. There’s giant glitter balls, inflatable horses and disco ponies.
Despite the futuristic visuals and the forward-facing pop-party, Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ tour is a celebration of liberation through real-world connection. There’s talk of this show raising the bar or setting the standard; but more than anything, it proves Beyoncé really is on another level entirely.