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Beyoncé Renaissance tour looks London fashion
Beyoncé in custom LoewePhoto by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood

Beyoncé is the greatest human who ever lived

And she proved it at Spurs’ Stadium last night

I was in a meeting the other day, when Beyoncé came up in conversation. It was with some people from a brand we work with and we were making polite small talk, delicately pattering around topics such as the weather, our weekends and holidays we’d got planned. The usual chat that fills the gaps between actual work stuff. I can’t remember how Beyoncé came into the conversation but when she did, one of the people from the brand said something to the effect of, “Oh, I don’t really like Beyoncé.” I remember feeling my face flush, my pulse quicken and my palms moisten. “How, though?” I replied, much more sharply than I meant to. She looked awkward and tried to backtrack, “Oh no, I do like her, she’s just not my favourite artist.”

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is the only thing – the only topic, the only person – I ever get defensive about. That she is the greatest entertainer – the greatest artist – of our time is an indisputable fact to me. An unassailable truth. Like the fact that gravity exists or that baby kangaroos are called joeys. She’s continued to prove this throughout her near-30-year career, and she did so again last night at her Renaissance concert in London.

Beginning with ballads (“1+1”, “I Care”), she started by paying tribute to the late, great Tina Turner who died last week and without whom it is quite feasible that she wouldn’t be there. “I want y’all to know this is one of my favourite songs,” she said, before giving a rendition of Turner’s 1966 classic “River Deep – Mountain High”. From there, she headed into her Renaissance tracks, masterfully blending them with older songs from her discography – “Alien Superstar” with 2008’s “Sweet Dreams”, “MOVE” with 2011’s “Run the World”. Performing to a sea of vajazzled cowboy hats, local celebrities such as MNEK, and Kris Jenner, she transfused – in a way that she alone can – euphoria from the stage to the audience.

Euphoria, and hedonism, are obviously key themes in the Renaissance album, which was released in the wake of the pandemic, when we’d all spent a year and a half festering away in our homes baking banana bread and saying things like “I feel like I’ve been given the gift of time”. Instead of meditating on loneliness and loss, the record is charged, full of songs that are loaded with energy and a desire to let loose. As Twitter user @delusionalhunk, given name “lol I’m not a bottom”, wrote, far more eloquently than I ever could, in a tweet that I have since been unable to get out of my head, “Beyonce walked into that studio, did 4 lines of coke, texted Billy Porter ‘lol FAGGOT’, put her CLIT directly on the mic for an hour and hit record. 12/10 #RENAISSANCE”.

Beyoncé brought that energy to the Spurs’ Stadium, peaking in “Church Girl” with “Put your lighters in the sky, get this motherfucker litty (you bad) / She gon’ shake them tass and them pretty tig old bitties”. Paying homage to those who came before her, she covered Mary J Blige and Diana Ross, performed her remix of Madonna’s “Vogue” and nodded to The Jackson 5’s “ABC” and even, briefly, I could have sworn, to Cameo’s “Candy”.

You couldn’t get around how queer the concert was – and I’m not talking about the crowd. Dedicated to her gay uncle Jonny, the album itself pays tribute to the queer pioneers of Black dance music styles such as disco and house, and features many Black queer people, such as Big Freida, Honey Dijon and Syd. And the show featured many queer people too, namely figures from the US ballroom scene – like Honey Balenciaga, Carlos Irizarry, Darius Hickman and Jonte’ Moaning – who danced beside her and put on an amazing voguing performance towards the end.

Then there were her stage costumes: throughout the concert, Beyoncé delivered look after look – from a surrealist hand-motif embellished bodysuit by Loewe, to a black and yellow chrome degradé bee bustier by Mugler, to a glittering bodysuit encrusted with 40,000 red crystals by Off-White, and a shimmering silver laser-cut feather cape by Coperni. She was, and there’s no other way to say it, serving cunt. Concluding the concert astride a holographic horse, the show was the closest thing to a non-chemically induced high.

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