Renaissance, which kicked off in Stockholm in May, was Beyoncé’s first tour in almost seven years, with 56 shows worldwide, tied to her 2022 album of the same name. In recent years, her musical projects have become increasingly clear to her personal values. “Homecoming” celebrated historically black colleges; “Lemonade” charted the arc from her husband’s infidelity to their redemption. (She’s married to rapper Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z.) And now “Renaissance”: an ode to black queer and transgender history told through a house music dreamscape that could easily serve as the soundtrack to a druggy sex at Brooklyn party. Live, the production of “Renaissance” was maximalist, even operatic. Pyrotechnics punctuated beat drops, and there were at least six outfit changes per show (with new looks each show), nearly two dozen dancers, a full band, acrobatics and a finale in which Beyoncé rides a crystal horse, deity-like, through a blizzard of silver confetti.
Everything Beyoncé does becomes a cultural event, but the Renaissance World Tour has become a cultural movement. People travel all over the world to see her, comparing set lists and fashion choices and attending multiple shows. Silver and rhinestones have become Renaissance signals, as recognizable as any brand logo. Products she used on tour have sold out and chrome appears in fall look books. Videos and photos from the tour have covered social media for months, documenting the challenges she poses to the public – including one tied to her song “Energy,” in which, after delivering the phrase “Look around everyone on mute.” sung, pauses. , waiting to see if the crowd can calm down enough to follow suit. Fans are also charting the burgeoning confidence of Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé’s eldest child, who made her stage debut this year. There are Reddit threads dedicated to post-show comedowns. And the tour has surpassed the previous record for the highest grossing by a female solo artist, previously held by Madonna in 2009. By the end, Beyoncé will have generated an estimated $4.5 billion for the U.S. economy, about as much as 2008. Olympics did that for Beijing.
The path of totality has changed almost everyone who stepped on it. Oprah shared a video of her reaction to Beyoncé’s performance on her Instagram. She stood with her hands crossed in a nondescript room and was unusually speechless. “I couldn’t scream,” she says, her voice hoarse with emotion. “I was in awe. … That’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.” Of course, Oprah’s best friend, Gayle King, has also made the pilgrimage. That includes Lenny Kravitz, Pharrell Williams, Kelly Rowland, Jeff Bezos, Paul McCartney, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, LeBron James, Dua Lipa, Vice President Kamala Harris, Shakira, Madonna, Angela Bassett, Natalie Portman, Megan Thee Stallion , Zendaya and Tom Holland and many others.