Review of Beyoncé's three-hour, dizzying Renaissance World Tour

It wouldn't do for a performer as compulsively ambitious as Beyoncé to merely defend her reputation as the greatest pop spectacle on Earth,

even without Taylor Swift's Ticketmaster-melting Eras Tour sniffing at her heels. Not when her first solo headline tour since 2016 may instead make another extravagant advancement in live entertainment for the twenty-first century.

Renaissance is a massive blockbuster concert experience on a totally different level, named after the Texan's disco glitter bomb post-pandemic party album of the same name

The tour will have played 57 stadium shows across the globe, beginning in Stockholm, and is expected to earn up to £1.9 billion ($2.4 billion) by the time it wraps up in New Orleans in late September.

The nearly three-hour spectacle, which is dripping with sci-fi disco decadence, sex, body positivity, and feminine Black pride, takes place in front of, behind, and

occasionally inside of a high-definition television screen the size of a football field that is meant to overwhelm the senses on an overwhelming scale.

The BeyHive, as Beyoncé's followers refer to themselves collectively, is buzzing before the performance as fans from all over the world pour into the venue for their first chance to see their queen live

since 2018's On the Run II co-headlining performance with Mr. B, Jay-Z. Mykwain Gainey, who has attended 20 Beyoncé concerts over the previous 20 years and spent about £2,000 to fly here from New York,

is decked up head to toe in official tour merchandise, including a cap and hoodie both printed with the word "THIQUE." "To see her transcend, and become what she has become, especially as a Black woman, is exciting," he exclaims.

The spangly cowboy hat worn by the Brazilian Yhes Bezerra is handcrafted; it took nine hours to adhere the hundreds of small mirror panels, unlike the one worn by Beyoncé in the tour poster. 

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