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Beyoncé in Warsaw. Report from the first concert at the National Stadium. Crow’s Choice

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Beyonce returned to Warsaw after ten years with a solo show. And once again – with endearing nonchalance – she convinced the audience of several tens of thousands that she has no equal in contemporary popular music. After all, there is only one queen.

Beyonce visited Warsaw for the third time in her career. Earlier, she played a solo concert at the National Stadium as part of The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in 2013, and returned five years later accompanied by her husband Jay-Z as The Carters as part of the On The Run II tour. Now, after a 10-year break, the singer returned to Warsaw with a solo performance, playing the first of two concerts planned here on Tuesday.

Beyoncé in Warsaw. Zendaya, Lizzo and Tom Holland in the audience

The Renaissance World Tour – a tour promoting her last year’s album “Renaissance vol. 1” – is her first in seven years. Her concert also attracted several other world stars to the National Stadium, including Zendaya, Tom Holland and Lizzo, who will play in Gdynia on Wednesday as part of the Open’er Festival 2023.

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Beyoncé at the National Stadiumphoto: Andrew White/Renaissance World Tour

With over 150 minutes of spectacle, Beyonce raised the bar so high that it will be difficult for anyone to jump over it in the near future. Many critics pointed out that Beyonce’s performance at Coachella in 2018 redefined what a concert should be, giving the best music show of the 21st century. However, as part of this year’s tour, she has prepared a performance that in many ways breaks away from what is commonly associated with music concerts.

The two-part stage itself, divided by a huge LED screen, was prepared with an unusual momentum. In the part behind this screen, Beyonce used the staircase theme, which has already worked well during Coachella. This is where the music band found its place. The extension of the part in front of the screen was a large circle. Such an arrangement also appeared at the concerts of the American and ensured closer contact with the audience.

On the huge screen, while the audience filled the stadium, a visualization referring to the TV test board, maintained in the colors of the flags of the LGBTQ+ community, was displayed. During the performance itself, and in fact between its individual parts, special video recordings were displayed on the screen, containing visualizations, computer animations, fragments of recordings made for this tour, or previews of music videos for the material from “Renaissance”, which have not yet been published.

Beyoncé at the National Stadiumphoto: Andrew White/Renaissance World Tour

READ ALSO THE TEXT FROM 2020: “There is only one queen. A Texan ‘peasant woman’ who became the voice of the discriminated” >>>

Beyoncé in Warsaw. Martian rover, disco horse and unrivaled pop queen

Although the latest tour promotes the artist’s last year’s album, Beyonce would not be herself if she limited herself to songs released in 2022. In almost each of the seven parts of the concert, she supplemented the hits from “Renaissance” with unobvious pieces from earlier stages of her career. Anyway, the first part of the show consisted only of soul songs from years ago: “Dangerously in Love 2”, “Flaws and All”, “1+1” and “I Care”.

This rather calm beginning of the concert only fueled the appetite for what was to happen later. When the singer left the stage to change her costume, a visualization appeared on the screen, which included elements referring to Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, intergalactic travel and androids. In this futuristic version, Beyonce performed, among others, the songs “I Am That Girl”, “Cozy” and “Alien Superstar”, which was enthusiastically received by the audience. “Don’t even waste your time trying to compete with me” – she melorecited with a nonchalant smile.

In the following parts, the artist did not cool her emotions. Enthusiasm reigned in the stadium as Beyoncé sang “Break My Soul” in a remixed version featuring interpolations (self-recorded fragments – ed.) of Madonna’s “Vogue”. Later on the stage she appeared on a vehicle that resembled the shape of a Martian rover. It was on it that Beyonce performed her hit from three years ago “Black Parade”, which in the pandemic reality did not receive the recognition it deserved.

Beyoncé at the National Stadiumphoto: Andrew White/Renaissance World Tour

The closer to the end of the concert, the more danceable it was. After performing “Pure/Honey”, Beyonce gave the stage to her dance group, who created a ballroom duel. The audience went crazy with joy. Especially when Honey Balenciaga appeared – one of the most popular ballroom stars in the world. It was a beautiful tribute to the ballroom culture that was born at the turn of the 1970s and 1980s among New York’s LGBTQ+ communities, mainly African-American and Latino people.

Beyonce herself returned on an artificial horse studded with a mirror mosaic like a disco ball, and basically soared above the stage on it. Sitting on a horse, Beyonce sang the closing number “Summer Renaissance”, which is her own version of “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer.

Beyoncé in Warsaw. Playing with cultural references

Just like on the album “Renaissance”, during the concert the queen of pop had fun with the audience on her own terms, seduced, tempted to drop everything and dance with her. To dance in a safe space, free from prejudices, various forms of stigmatization and discrimination. After years of pandemics and global crises, each of us needs or needed such hedonistic escapism.

As Beyonce herself said at the beginning of the concert, it is a moment of joint celebration of discovering one’s own uniqueness, self-worth and being imperfect. So it’s no wonder that Beyonce, going on tour, decided to turn subsequent stadiums into an extravagant, futuristic dance club straight from science-fiction movies. And treating everything with a huge grain of salt.

In this club there was also a whole lot of references to various – more or less clear – classics of universal culture. For example, even before Beyonce went on stage, a photo of a scantily clad singer in a pose referring to Giorgione’s “Sleeping Venus” began to appear on the screen. She later returned as Venus American in Plastic Off the Sofa, this time lying in a large shell, like the goddess from Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

Beyoncé at the National Stadiumphoto: Andrew White/Renaissance World Tour

Author:Tomasz-Marcin Wrona

Main photo source: photo: Andrew White/Renaissance World Tour

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