The undisputed Queen of Pop left Coachella revellers in a frenzy as she headlined Coachella on Saturday night with a full-throttle, no holds barred show.
Her performance made her the first woman of colour to headline the Californian festival – ‘Coachella, thank you for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline’, she said, before singing ‘Run the World (Girls)’.
The entire performance was a visually stunning homage to various symbols of black culture and history including HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and black leaders and figures, as well as a celebration of all versions of the female form.
The set was inspired by the American university experience with bleachers, a 200-strong marching band, and powerful majorette style choreography.
Beyoncé wore 5 custom made Balmain outfits throughout the performance, as did her score of dancers, including an outfit inspired by the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti which Jay-Z approved of. Creative director for Balmain Olivier Rousteing said; ‘Jay saw the Egyptian goddess cape and when B put it on, his eyes went wide and he was so excited, he said ‘Oh wow!’ That gave me a lot of satisfaction.’
Queen B opened with ‘Crazy in Love’ accompanied by a New Orleans-style brass marching band, a not so subtle show of appreciation of the Southern black musical traditions that have shaped her style.
She then performed ‘Freedom’ followed by a rendition of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’, a song often referred to as the ‘Black/African-American National Anthem’, in which she featured snippets of speeches by Malcolm X and Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
For almost 2 hours the surprises kept coming, including a dramatic Destiny’s Child reunion that had the little girl, and the strong woman within us literally jumping for joy.
The iconic trio performed ‘Lose My Breath’, ‘Say My Name’ and ‘Soldier’ to an adoring crowd.
Jay-Z joined her for an affectionate rendition of ‘Deja Vu’ which sent the crowd wild, however, the stage was firmly under Beyoncé ’s control. The good vibes transmitted all the way from California into peoples homes, prompting Adele to dance around her living room brandishing a trumpet.
Continuing the collaborations, sister Solange joined the stage for a dance-off to ‘Get Me Bodied’, that took the dance crown of the evening, despite the 100 plus dancers that performed along with Bey throughout the performance.
Beyoncé demonstrated perfectly why she still reigns supreme, keeping her old music fresh with remixes and an impressive range of live musicians. A remake of ‘Baby Boy’ backed by a Jamaican big band, and a version of ‘Drunk in Love’ which began with thick sticky bass tones then dramatically morphed into a chorus of trumpets.
Her entire performance was a work of art and is unlikely to be topped by anything else this year. A political, visually stunning, celebration of female power and music, with unbelievable choreography and production. Bow down to the Queen B!