It’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for: Beyoncé finally kicked off her Renaissance World Tour in Stockholm, Sweden, Wednesday night. This comes close to a year after the release of her seventh album, RENAISSANCE, a period during which she has rarely acknowledged the album with interviews or public performances of the new music, nor put out any music videos to accompany the songs. Nonetheless, the BeyHive was still buzzing with excitement on social media as they shared clips of the stage, the merchandise, the view from different VIP sections, and, most importantly, the artist performing the songs live for the first time.
Beyoncé is gearing up for a second night at the Friends Arena in Stockholm. As she gets ready to hit the stage, let’s take a look at what was revealed in the first show that might offer an indication of what could happen on the rest of the highly anticipated tour. A lot has already happened—from Bey herself addressing the lack of visuals to her celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, in keeping with the themes of the album.
Here’s everything we learned from night one of the Renaissance World Tour.
Beyoncé said not to rush a queen for music videos
omg not beyoncé addressing the visuals i’m crying 😭 #RenaissanceWorldTour pic.twitter.com/xQ9AkBCp3p
— rasmus 🇸🇪 (@rasmusbravado) May 10, 2023
If we haven’t learned by now, Beyoncé releases things when she is good and ready. This is her first solo album since 2016’s Lemonade, so we can’t act surprised that she told her fans to be patient and stop asking about the music videos. Her last solo albums, Lemonade, Beyoncé, and The Gift (a concept album for The Lion King), all had visual components that included music videos for each song. This built up the expectation that RENAISSANCE would get the same treatment.
Beyoncé is online and knows her fans have been hounding her, and she has finally responded. During a break on the first night, a disembodied voice addressed the crowd as the words it spoke were displayed on stage: “Aww, you mad? Well, there’s no remedy for that, bitches… I know you’ve asked for the visuals. You’ve called for the Queen. But a Queen moves at her own pace, bitch. Decides when she wants to give you a f-cking taste. So get your fork and your spoon if you got one.”
She is cutting out some of her biggest hits to make room for the new album and deep cuts
Attendees at the concert in Stockholm filmed every moment for the world to see on social media, and many of Beyoncé’s fans were quite surprised by some of the songs she decided to perform. She opened the show with “Dangerously In Love” from her debut album of the same name and ran through a string of popular songs, both mainstream hits and fan favorites. At the opening night show, she also performed songs like “Rather Die Young,” “Flaws and All,” and “Black Parade,” which have not gotten much attention from Beyoncé in recent memory.
Beyonce – Rather Die Young 🎤 SINGGGGGG!!!! #RenaissanceWorldTour pic.twitter.com/MEZwAVYNWk
— ram (@oyyram) May 10, 2023
Some of Beyoncé’s most popular songs, many of which she has made a point to perform on past tours, are notably missing from the set list. “Run The World” fans, do not worry: she still performs the song. But those who are fans of “If I Were a Boy,” “Single Ladies,” and “Halo,” a notorious closer for Beyoncé—as evidenced by the Homecoming concert film and her Formation World Tour—may be disappointed.
Beyoncé did NOT perform her hit songs “Single Ladies”, ”If I Were a Boy” and “Halo” at the opening night of her #RENAISSANCEtour show in Sweden. pic.twitter.com/ejXi5b7fXf
— Buzzing Pop (@BuzzingPop) May 10, 2023
Beyoncé brought back the Les Twins, who have accompanied her on multiple tours and performances
The Les Twins, Laurent and Larry, were approached by Beyoncé years ago after a video of them dancing went viral and they appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. They were invited to perform with Beyoncé at the Billboard Music Awards in 2011, and she took them on the road with her for the Mrs. Carter World Tour, her joint On The Run Tour with Jay-Z, and her Coachella performance in 2018. Her fans were excited to see the Les Twins back on stage with her for this new tour.
Beyoncé performing Thique and Les Twins are officially back 😭 #RenaissanceWorldTour pic.twitter.com/zPKiGAPCjG
— J (@wenttojarrett) May 10, 2023
It was gay as hell: An unabashed celebration of the LGBTQ+ community
In the lead-up to the album, Beyoncé dedicated the project to her Uncle Johnny, who battled HIV when she was young. He is referenced in the song “HEATED,” and in the outro of the song, Beyoncé takes on the role of MC at a ball (a queer dance party) where she starts “reading.” All of these influences took center stage at the Renaissance World Tour and will make a strong statement when it comes stateside in July, given the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being introduced across the country.
BEYONCÉ IS HEATED😭😭😭 #RENAISSANCEtour pic.twitter.com/ddL9s1ByUA
— 𝗱𝗮𝗻𝗻𝘆💚 (@beyoncegarden) May 10, 2023
One of the biggest displays of affection for her queer fans came even before the concert started. As concertgoers poured into the stadium, they were greeted with a fake TV error screen, but if you look closely, some of the colors are different. This error screen has the colors of the progress pride flag, which includes colors from the transgender pride flag, as well as brown and black to indicate the greater discrimination experienced by those members of the community. Twitter users joked, “Nashville is gonna be ready to arrest Beyoncé for this, lord Jesus,” referencing the state’s attempt to ban drag shows and broader attempts across the US to infringe on trans people’s rights.
Nashville is gonna be ready to arrest Beyoncé for this lord Jesus pic.twitter.com/jAz6ObNSEQ
— 💫 (@heyjaeee) May 10, 2023
There is also a ball that happens in the show. Beyoncé makes space for her dancers to vogue and dance to her song, “PURE/HONEY.”
BEYONCÉ HOSTING A BALL IS SO WILD TO ME OMG pic.twitter.com/1JwnRMX8TR
— pocket (@islandthembo) May 10, 2023
Some people might recognize Honey Balenciaga from The House of Balenciaga, which appeared in season two of HBO Max’s Legendary. He was seen voguing on stage with the rest of Beyoncé’s dancers.
HONEY BALENCIAGA @Honey. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THE IT GIRL #RENAISSANCE
As we’ve seen with other tours from major artists like Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, and the 1975, their fervent fan base will keep everyone up to date on all the song changes, new outfits, and surprises that these artists pull out of their bag of tricks on the road. As we’ve seen with Swift’s notoriously sold-out Eras Tour, her fans made sure to give people who couldn’t get tickets a chance to see the tour play out online. Based on how night one played out, it seems like Beyoncé’s fans will be doing the same for those of us stuck at home.