It’s been more than four years since Beyonce graced the world with a live performance, but the queen is back with a bang.
Performing an hour-long set for the grand reveal of Dubai’s Atlantis The Royal on Saturday night, Beyonce sounded better than ever, taking the audience on an eclectic journey through her extensive back catalogue.
Fans hoping for a first taste of her new music live weren’t granted that privilege, but it’s unlikely any of the lucky 1,000-plus guests at the private show left disappointed.
Not only did she bring daughter Blue Ivy on stage, she had Lebanese dance troupe Mayyas, who won America’s Got Talent, on hand throughout the set, creating a series of stunning visuals that had to be seen to be believed.
True Beyonce fans would be impressed by the set list. It felt as though the star had delved back through her favourite hits, which have been absent from her recent tours, and used them to flex her vocal cords ahead of her Renaissance world tour, which will start this summer.
As the Atlantis announced its official arrival after eight long years, the skies lit up and Beyonce emerged in a yellow feathered dress, singing At Last, the song she famously performed for US president Barack Obama during his inauguration.
She was joined on stage by more than 100 band members and dancers, who delivered a seamless production that showcased Beyonce’s reputation as a perfectionist.
She confirmed she was joined in Dubai by a “union” of more than 1,500 people from “all over the world”.
Bey made it clear she was using the show as an opportunity to tread long-forgotten ground, going into 2006 song Flaws and All, a song she said she had not performed live for more than a decade.
She followed it up with Ave Maria and Halo, before telling the crowd how honoured she was to be in Dubai, joined by both her parents, her husband, and her three children, the eldest of which — Blue Ivy, 11 — joined her on stage for a rendition of Brown Skin Girl.
Dressed in red sequins to match the dancers and platform Converse trainers, the Grammy-winner looked at ease next to her mother, who was clearly bursting with pride.
“Give it up for my baby,” she proclaimed, sending the crowd wild.
During the first of three outfit changes, Mayyas appeared on stage dressed in sequin harem pants and elongated gloves, impressing with their signature immaculately timed belly dance-inspired routine.
In a major coup for the 36-strong all-female dance troupe, they appeared on stage several times during the show, creating mesmerising visuals as they shrouded Beyonce with serpent-like sequences, most notably during Beautiful Liar, her hit duet with Shakira.
They also stood proudly behind the star during Bigger, her song for the live remake of Disney’s The Lion King.
Bey performed several hits from Black is King, including Spirit, giving herself a moment to honour the 2020 album live before the Renaissance hits that have been all over TikTok since the new album’s release become setlist priority.
She also knew she needed to deliver a few crowd-pleasers, and she did, courtesy of Crazy in Love, which she entered into following the third outfit change of the evening.
She started with a slowed-down jazz version of her first solo hit, before the horns kicked in for the recognisable intro and accompanying dance routine.
From Countdown to Naughty Girl, she delivered on chart toppers, before walking through the centre of the hotel’s impressive Skyblaze fountain for the grand finale.
She rounded off the evening with Drunk in Love, as the water feature went off around her and her dancers.
And finally, she was lifted into the air on a platform, as the hotel set off its grand finale fireworks around her, creating a moment likely to go down in entertainment history.