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The Renaissance World Tour reveals Beyoncé at her best – and most human

30 May 2023, 09:54

It’s only been 19 days since the Renaissance World Tour debuted in Sweden. As Beyoncé finds her way back to London, the show manages to maintain its electric feeling, but we also see a part of her that's rarely shown to the world; the human side.

Little has been altered since the show began, with the original set list of 36 songs being trimmed to 34 (most other dates have only had 32, in fairness) and an addition of a “River Deep, Mountain High" in tribute to Tina Turner. Even with its mammoth run-time, the show never feels too long or overdone – it’s safely in the goldilocks zone. Two and a half hours consisting of seven costume changes, an appearance from Blue Ivy, ridiculous vocal runs, impressive choreography and lavish sets unsurprisingly never gets boring.

Of course, the show’s visuals are overtly impressive, with each section receiving its own deepfake set on screen in an interlude before melting away into oblivion, making room for the next. The physical sets are similarly excessive as well, and the fact that a 20-foot tall disco-ball horse coming out of the giant screen just for a three-minute song seems… over the top?

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We see endless montages of music videos from Beyoncé's past, present and seemingly her future – as we’re teased with shots from RENAISSANCE’s unreleased and highly sought-after visual counterpart – “I know you hear me, you’ve asked for the visuals,” says the screen in one interlude. “You've called for the queen, but a queen moves at her own pace, bitch.” It’s these parts of the show that maintain Beyoncé's unattainable, unreachable air about her – it wouldn’t be a Beyoncé show without it.

There are moments that bring Bey down to earth too, with an unmistakeable teleprompter at the back of the arena for her to read off when the lyrics get a little too much to handle. It’s only at select moments that she uses this though, as it’s easy to notice when her gaze locks in, her choreo eases up, and she focusses on delivering the show of a lifetime. What this reminds us is that no; Beyoncé isn’t a god, she’s a human just like us, but my god is she a professional. “Sometimes I mess up the words,” she announces to the crowd before her ‘favourite song to sing’ “HEATED,” “can you help me?”

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The show’s high point was one of these human moments. After “Love On Top” ran its (short) course, the crowd kept it going – key changes and all. Beyoncé joins in for a moment that feels authentic and genuine (unlike her trademark canned politeness we got earlier in the show), going higher and higher until needed to stop them for time. Then as we’re thrown straight into “Crazy In Love,” the moment is over just a fast as it began. “PURE / HONEY” was up there too, with stage cameras akin to ROSALIA’s tour rotating around her to create engaging visuals on screen.

Similarly, there were questionable moments too. Opening with six slow songs was certainly a choice, and the final number “SUMMER RENAISSANCE” felt a little like an afterthought in comparison to the high-concept vision of the rest of the show. But even after the final song, Beyoncé is lifted up via cables and paraded over the crowd as she thanks her band and tries to communicate with the crowd from a 12 foot height – it’s a surreal moment that could’ve been utilised better at a different time, but if that’s the worst thing that happened then it’s safe to say the show was pretty spectacular.

This show is, undoubtedly, Beyoncé’s best. With massive budgets, joyful queer representation, undeniable talent and impressive showmanship, it’s impossible to say that she hasn’t perfected her formula. Yes, she may be toning down her robotic nature from tours past and easing up on her dancing, but this actually feels like a good thing. We’re seeing Beyoncé at her most personable and honest – by admitting her flaws to us, that simply makes her even more flawless.


Dangerously in Love
Flaws and All
I'm Goin Down (Mary J. Blige cover) (shortened)
I Care
River Deep, Mountain High
Lift Off
Run the World (Girls)
Savage (Remix)
Get Me Bodied
Before I Let Go
Rather Die Young
Love On Top
Crazy In Love
Naughty Girl
Already (dancers interlude)

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