Beyoncé on 2023 Renaissance Tour

Beyoncé in Gucci on 2023 Renaissance Tour, Aug. 18, styled by Shiona Turini. Jewelry by official tour jeweler, Tiffany & Co. Make-up by Rokael Lizama and hair by Neal Farinah. 

For the not-so-silent minority who “don’t see what the fuss is about” and question the unwavering devotion of “The Beyhive,” attending a Beyoncé concert provides the best form of context. This was particularly true Monday night, when her Renaissance Tour played before a sold-out crowd at the Dome at America’s Center.

As per Beyoncé’s request that they wear silver, tens of thousands converged on downtown as local temperatures gave any sturdy air fryer a run for its money. They baked with barely a complaint in head-turning ensembles that appeared to have been planned since it was announced that her Renaissance Tour would stop in St. Louis last winter. The outfits are the unofficial opening act of The Renaissance Tour. And St. Louis did not disappoint as they swarmed from every direction – to the beat of “Get Me Bodied” – serving up head-turning looks. On a day that Mayor Tishaura Jones proclaimed as “Bey Day,” entering The Dome felt as much like a Beyoncé convention as it did a concert.

Better yet, as Renaissance offers deference to the ballroom scene, The Dome was filed with the House of Beyoncé. And “Mother Queen Bey” made it clear from the moment she emerged on stage that her relationship with her Beyhive “children” is rooted in mutual adoration, as opposed to the assumed blind devotion.

While the tour – as the title suggests – is designed around her multiple Grammy Award winning dance album of the same name, she opened the show with a crop of love ballads from earlier records that felt as if they were dedicated to the fans who have fueled her ascension to cultural force status.

“This is a gratitude tour,” Beyoncé said after opening with “Dangerously in Love,” the title track from her debut solo album.

“I love you deep, deep, deep,” she said before jumping into “Flaws and All.” “You catch me when I fall, accept my flaws and all. And that’s why I love you,” she sang. “It’s because of you, I have been able to do what I love for 25 years,” she told the crowd.

She closed the ballad section – which included “I Care” and “1+1” – with a tribute to the late Tina Turner, specifically because she was in the city that laid the foundation for Turner’s iconic career.

The abbreviated, re-imagined take on “River Deep – Mountain High” was an emotional moment for Beyoncé, who has spoken of Turner’s influence on her as an artist. She was the featured performer when Turner was celebrated among the 2005 cohort of Kennedy Center Honors recipients by President George W. Bush.

After the tender moment, it was time for the turn up. Her extravagant set transitioned into a lunar eclipse – which signaled a shift to “Beyonce after dark” and the grown and sexy homage to Black queer culture that best describes her latest album.

“Welcome to The Renaissance,” she said before jumping into “I’m That Girl” and segueing into “Cozy,” which was co-written by St. Louis native Cor.Ece.

The stunning production quality and visual aesthetic elevated the vibe and intention of what Renaissance provides musically. Beyoncé – who has spoken of the album as a tribute to her late uncle Johnny –and her robust squad of dancers that understood the assignment of giving due to a community of trendsetters who define “what’s next” in music, fashion and slang who are commonly overlooked when it is time for proper credit.  

The two-and-a-half-hour performance felt specific to Renaissance, but not exclusive to the album. She offered plenty to enjoy for “Hive” members who didn’t check for the record beyond the hits and viral sensation that came via “Break My Soul,” “Cuff It” and “Alien Superstar.” But even as she dipped into other albums from her catalog during the set of nearly three-dozen songs, she didn’t seem particularly beholden to her biggest hits. She opted to pass on selections such as “Drunk in Love” and “Single Ladies” – although the latter was one of several additional tracks to be included in the transitional interlude music.

Her 11-year-old daughter Blue Ivy Carter joined the party on stage as a featured dancer for the African American affirmation tracks “My Power” and “Black Parade.” While the St. Louis audience won’t win any awards for its participation in the viral “Mute Challenge” that calls for six seconds of silence during her performance of “Energy,” Beyoncé declared our city the undisputed “Love on Top” champions. The goal is to see how many times the crowd can sing along to a loop of the song’s chorus without getting out of sync or completely off key. They might still be in the dome singing along three days later if Beyonce hadn’t gracefully encouraged them to bring the challenge to a close.

The final portion of the show offered an in-person sensory stimulation for Renaissance that fans were waiting to see via screen, such as with visual albums Beyoncé, Lemonade and Black is King. About every audio-visual augmentation imaginable was incorporated – from mechanical to pyrotechnical – and culminated with her flying off into the night on a silver horse as she closed the show with “Summer Renaissance.”


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