Beyoncé kicked off her 57-date Renaissance World Tour in Stockholm, Sweden, on Wednesday with futuristic panache.
The set design on the opening night of the global superstar’s second all-stadium solo tour appeared to be her most ambitious to date. Videos posted on social media showed pyrotechnics, disco balls, giant moving robots, and even a shiny, metallic tank that Beyoncé rode while singing.
The tour is in support of Beyoncé’s seventh solo studio album, “Renaissance. It is her first solo tour in nearly seven years. The Formation World Tour in 2016 supported her album “Lemonade.”
Beyoncé sang all 16 songs from “Renaissance” at the tour’s opening show, marking the first time she’d performed any of them live. Several older songs from her expansive catalog made their live debuts as well, including the Grammy-winning “Black Parade,” “Lift Off” and “Savage Remix,” her number-one hit with Megan Thee Stallion.
Beyoncé started the show with four straight ballads, including her 2003 “Dangerously In Love 2,” an unconventional move by a singer known to open her concerts with fast-paced smash hits like “Crazy In Love,” “Run the World (Girls),” and “Formation.”
Beyoncé then launched into songs from “Renaissance,” with performances replete with a futuristic set design — including those robotic arms — and queer, Black and trans-inspired choreography that evoked the themes and tenor of her latest acclaimed album.
Dancing energetically alongside a legion of backup dancers wearing blonde wigs and glitzy silver leotards, the 41-year-old mother of three sang (and rapped) with the power and pristineness that’s put her in a distinct category of pop performers. Her athleticism doesn’t seem to have waned since her astonishingly aerobic headlining sets at Coachella in 2018.
The performers’ outfits were as outlandish and ultramodernist as the show’s set design, ranging from a gold bodysuit inspired by Loewe’s Fall 2022 collection to a giant bee costume — a sartorial embrace of her designation as “Queen Bey.” Another outfit appeared to be transformed by UV light while she was wearing it.
Beyoncé ended the show with a performance of the album’s final track, “Summer Renaissance,” while perched atop a gleaming, crystalline horse — evoking the “Renaissance” album cover — and later being hoisted above the crowd amid a cloud of glittery confetti.
Wednesday marked just the second live performance for Beyonce in nearly three years. Before her January show at the opening of Atlantis the Royal hotel in Dubai, Beyoncé hadn’t performed in front of a live audience since she sang at Kobe Bryant’s memorial in February 2020. She co-headlined her last world tour with her husband, Jay-Z, in 2018.
Forbes on Monday predicted the Renaissance World Tour could earn nearly $2.1 billion — $500 million more than Taylor Swift’s “Eras” world tour is expected to make and more than the revenue from all of Beyonce’s previous concerts combined.
Beyoncé has announced that she will provide support for students and entrepreneurs throughout the Renaissance World Tour by giving out a total of $2 million through her BeyGOOD Foundation. The foundation’s BeyGOOD initiative, founded in 2013, has undertaken various philanthropic endeavors in the U.S. and worldwide, including providing aid to communities affected by natural disasters, promoting education and supporting programs that address issues such as housing scarcity and mental health. It has also provided grants to small, Black-owned businesses — a focus since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.