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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Get in ‘Formation’ and see Beyoncé’s ‘RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR’

Beyoncé performed a two and half hour set that redefined what a stadium show should be on her “RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR.”
Beyoncé resplendent on stage in Nashville, Tenn., in vibrant red by David Koma, styled by KJ Moody, hair by Neal Farinah, makeup by Rokael Lizama and jewelry by Tiffany & Co, as photographed on July 15, 2023. (Photo courtesy of RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR)

Beyoncé, the 32-time Grammy winner, came to Nissan Stadium on July 15 on her “RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR,” the second stop on her U.S. leg. In Nashville, there is denim and rhinestones, and then there is disco cowgirl goddess. I squarely place Queen Bey as the leader of the latter category. I pulled on a sparkly dress to match the aesthetic seen on the album cover of “RENAISSANCE” and arrived ready for her ode to club culture.

From my seat on stage right, a wave of cheers and excitement broke out in Nissan Stadium each time a new silver-clad dancer walked from the Titans tunnel backstage. However, none more than when a golf cart shrouded in black whipped around backstage to deliver Beyoncé herself. There was no opener, so as the pre-show music faded, the crowd’s anticipation rose, rippling with every change in tempo or twitch of the screen covering the stage. We knew when the lights rose we would see Beyoncé.

Finally, the screen projected cranes dropping down to pull a projected stage into view. Panels of the image glitched into an image of Beyoncé. Once the image was complete, Beyoncé herself arrived from the floor onto the stage. Clad in a stunning red bodysuit and boots, Beyoncé opened her show acoustic style. Alone in front of silver risers hosting her band and vocalists, she sang “Dangerously in Love” accompanied by Emily Bear on the silver grand piano. 

After singing “Flaws and All” while sitting on the grand piano, Beyoncé moved closer down the stage to the crowd to continue riffing her way through the rest of her opening set. She finished the opening portion of the night by singing a cover of “River Deep, Mountain High” to honor her inspiration, Tina Turner. 

After Beyoncé left the stage, the entire show kicked into high gear. Lights went out and an eclipse played on the screen above the stage. 

“When that camera go ‘Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop’” from her song “ENERGY” played from speakers and lights flashed around Nissan, mimicking press camera flashes. 

The first of many acts for the night was heralded by “RENAISSANCE” written in big letters across the screen. A silver suit of modern robotic armor was removed by mechanical arms, piece by piece, revealing Beyoncé underneath in a body suit of the same color. She strutted down the stage with her iconic backup dancers appearing for the first time that night. 

Beyoncé is stunningly confident in her own skin, and her song “COZY” made that clear. She danced solo as picture frames held the crowd rapt center stage. This song also debuted Honey Balenciaga’s first dance of the night and their nationally acclaimed voguing. The song ended with Beyoncé wrapped in a shining silver comforter on stage. 

After one of my favorite songs, “ALIEN SUPERSTAR,” Beyoncé disappeared offstage for another outfit change indicating a new act in the show. In her place, two techno dancers sprung from center stage. At first, hidden behind silver masks and glasses, they were soon revealed to be Les Twins, long-time staples who have danced with her since 2013. Their interlude to “7/11” was followed by another black screen transition into the “MOTHERBOARD” act of the show.

Beyoncé resplendent on stage in Nashville, Tenn., in vibrant red by David Koma, styled by KJ Moody, hair by Neal Farinah, makeup by Rokael Lizama and jewelry by Tiffany & Co, as photographed on July 15, 2023. (Photo courtesy of RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR)

Beyoncé’s Barbie pink outfit complete with matching boots and jacket was the perfect way to dance her way into “CUFF IT.” After pausing mid-dance to sit on Les Twins bending backward to give the queen a seat, the whole ensemble strutted to the middle of the stadium, as the crowd clapped along to the intro of “ENERGY.” The act quickly transitioned into “BREAK MY SOUL” once the dancers completed the circle. Beyonce sang on a treadmill built into the stage; it allowed her to hover mid-walk while dancers moved past her and off stage. 

“MOTHERBOARD” embodied the ode to dance music that is “RENAISSANCE;” however, the next act, “OPULENCE,” perfectly blended some of the top hits we’ve known Queen Bey for throughout the last few decades back into the mix. 

Appearing on stage in a military motif and wide-brim black shiny hats and sunglasses, Beyoncé and her dancers quickly snapped into “Formation” as they made their way back to the center of Nissan. Strobe lights and fog transitioned the beat into “Diva” which after a few minutes bled into “Run the World (Girls).” I cannot fully put into words the shock and awe I felt at that moment. However, “OPULENCE” was not done. After the dancers showed their prowess without Beyoncé on stage during “MY POWER,” the artist reappeared, sitting astride a silver tank that drove her to the center of the stage. She sang the Grammy-winning “BLACK PARADE” from astride the tank, ending the choreography with everyone holding up a fist. Though she took a good amount of time to hold up her arm and regally take in the crowd, it was obvious the support from the crowd moved Beyoncé to tears. This act ended with the TikTok staple “Savage” before the tank reversed up the stage as Beyoncé sang “Partition.” 

The “ANOINTED” act of the show started very thematically, after the screen showed a scene of Beyoncé in a chapel, she appeared on stage clad in a majestic white dress that was scanned by UV light and turned rainbow. Fittingly, “CHURCH GIRL” was the first song of this act. 

After a quick change out of her angelic outfit, Beyoncé reemerged clad in silver once again. Her band now stood on silver parade floats that flanked center stage as she danced her way to a mic stand. To the crowd stage left she sang “Rather Die Young,” accompanied by dancers in suits with their own mic stands. To stage right she sang “Love on Top” before walking to the center to a sample of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. The whole stadium sang along to the “Love on Top” refrain, stepping up a note each time. Beyoncé stepped back and stopped the band to listen to 50,000+ people sing one of her top songs a cappella. 

Then, a disco ball emerged from the stage. The band shredded solos. Vocalists performed Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover.” Beyoncé emerged out of a clam shell in a nude sparkly bodysuit. At this point in the evening, I finally realized there was no limit to the spectacle of the night’s show. No one has ever danced, riffed or strutted better than Beyoncé.

The last three songs of the “RENAISSANCE” album wrapped up the show. Beyoncé came on stage in signature black and gold stripes as an ode to her fans, the “BeyHive.” The whole screen became covered in broadcast news for “AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM.” Then, Bey took center stage a final time and grabbed hold of the camera to sing “PURE/HONEY,” the penultimate song. As she sang “to the left” and “right” in the song she would move the camera to look at her from the same direction. 

Bey’s dancers each took one last solo in a dance circle in the center of Nissan before “SUMMER RENAISSANCE” started playing to close the show. Beyonce emerged astride a silver unicorn, singing as she floated through the air to where the dance circle had just ended. She then left the unicorn and floated through the air by herself back to the main stage. 

“I want you guys to remember this night. 10 years, 20 years, 50 years. Remember who you came here with. Remember what you were wearing,” Beyoncé said from the stage. “I hope you feel seen. I hope you feel loved. I hope you continue to inspire. Carry that love with you.” 

I carry with me a night of screaming songs I once had on my iPod Nano, dancing in boots I loaned from my mom and a dress I bought for a junior prom. I carry vibrations from music Beyoncé revived and popularized from gay club culture. I carry love for “RENAISSANCE.”

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About the Contributor
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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