Beyoncé has lengthy been on my record of must-see artists.
When tickets for her Renaissance tour went on sale in London — the place I stay — I instantly tried, however didn’t get seats for one among her Could exhibits.
When she added three June dates on the metropolis’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, I made one other try, to no avail.
I gave up.
However once I began watching scenes of her European exhibits on Instagram, I obtained main FOMO (worry of lacking out).
Beyoncé is suspended within the air throughout her Renaissance World Tour on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Could 30, 2023 in London, U.Ok.
Kevin Mazur | WireImage for Parkwood | Getty Pictures
I scrolled via pictures of her dazzling costumes, from glowing tunics and matching boots to night robes with gloves, and noticed that the U.Ok. exhibits featured outfits by British trend homes together with Alexander McQueen and Roksanda Ilincic.
And, the entire thing was concurrently broadcast on a stadium-width display, with gorgeous visuals — no worries about sitting in a “nosebleed” seat then. What I noticed gave me chills.
Beyoncé performs on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium carrying a costume by British designer Roksanda Ilincic on Could 29, 2023 in London, U.Ok.
Kevin Mazur | WireImage for Parkwood | Getty Pictures
Discovering a single ticket on a resale web site was comparatively straightforward and, at £187, it was less expensive than the London seat.
Including a return flight I discovered for £134 meant the outlay would nonetheless be lower than the ticket I would discovered for the U.Ok. efficiency, and I put the Amsterdam present ticket into my on-line cart.
Simply earlier than I hit “purchase,” I checked opinions of the resale vendor, which have been poor: folks complained of not receiving tickets or discovering them invalid, and I made a decision I could not take the chance. I used to be very disillusioned however tried to persuade myself that Beyoncé would tour once more.
I first danced to “Break My Soul,” a home music observe and the lead track on the Renaissance album, at a London membership evening hosted by British DJ Annie Macmanus in 2022, the place the group jumped and cheered on the sound of the opening bars.
Afterward, I listened to “Summer time Renaissance,” Beyoncé’s transforming of one among my favourite songs, Donna Summer time’s 1977 disco hit “I Really feel Love,” on repeat. The remainder of the album blew my thoughts: it was joyful, fabulous enjoyable — and Beyoncé at her most assured and expressive (“Comfy in my pores and skin, Cozy with who I’m,” she sings on “Cozy,” the album’s second observe).
Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy, dances, as her mom sings behind her on the London, U.Ok. leg of the Renaissance World Tour in Could 2023.
Kevin Mazur | WireImage for Parkwood | Getty Pictures
Sooner or later, I casually browsed her U.S. tour dates and located a single ticket for $137.40, together with charges, on Sept. 27, at Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, a date near my birthday.
The seat was up within the gods, as Brits say, and had a barely off-center view of the stage. On a whim, I purchased it.
I used to be set to turn into one of many folks fueled by emotions of YOLO (You Solely Reside As soon as) to journey 1000’s of miles to see their favourite artists carry out. Earlier this 12 months, Beyoncé turned the most-awarded Grammy winner ever, with 32, so this was the prospect of a lifetime.
I made a decision to make a trip out of my journey — New Orleans being arguably one of many world’s greatest locations to see stay music — and located direct flights with British Airways for £750 return. Town is round 4,600 miles from London, a 10-hour flight away.
I’ve traveled alone earlier than, however I’ve by no means seen a stay present on my own. I obtained prepared by going solo to see a DJ set by Redmond — who goes by the efficiency title Honey Dijon — at London’s Southbank Centre about 10 days earlier than the New Orleans present. She performed her personal mixture of “Break My Soul” — I obtained misplaced within the beat and fortunately danced the evening away.
I discovered New Orleans a straightforward place to sightsee alone. Virgin Motels New Orleans, the place I stayed, is simply a half-mile from the Superdome stadium, and was well-prepared to host the numerous concertgoers who stayed there.
The Sunday earlier than the Renaissance present, I loved the resort’s Beyoncé Burlesque & Drag Brunch, the place drag queen Laveau Contraire launched a crew of dancers in Bey-style leotards, feathers, heels and wigs.
Members of Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour band carry out at jazz membership Comfortable Harbor in New Orleans, led by saxophonist Kat Rodriguez (second from proper).
I browsed a New Orleans newspaper on-line and found that members of Beyoncé’s band would carry out at Comfortable Harbor, a jazz membership on town’s Frenchmen Avenue, the evening earlier than the live performance.
I already had tickets to Preservation Corridor, New Orleans’ iconic jazz venue, however headed to Comfortable Harbor afterward to catch the final hour of the present led by saxophonist Kat Rodriguez, who jammed with trumpeter Crystal Torres and singer Tayler Inexperienced, amongst others.
It was thrilling to see such achieved musicians up shut.
Exploring New Orleans’ fascinating and different historical past on my own was additionally easy: I joined plenty of excursions, from a guided stroll across the metropolis’s well-known French Quarter, with its stunning cast-iron balconies and bohemian galleries, to a cycle tour of areas together with the arty Faubourg Marigny, which was based by a Creole millionaire.
Stopping at an intersection, our cycle information Danny Laurino identified that we have been inside view of three historic intervals — a normal sight within the U.S. Standing within the 19th-century Marigny, we may see throughout the 18th-century French Quarter to the fashionable skyscrapers of the central enterprise district, lower than two miles away.
The 18th-century French Quarter of New Orleans, with the fashionable central enterprise district within the background.
John Coletti | The Picture Financial institution | Getty Pictures
I additionally loved a strolling tour of the Backyard District, filled with fancy mansions initially inhabited by sugar cane plantation homeowners, and afterward browsed the shops of Journal Avenue, which make up the district’s southern border.
At classic outlet Magpie I purchased a pair of Beyoncé-style lengthy diamante earrings, and at Uptown Costume and Dancewear, I picked up a rhinestone-decorated cowboy hat to put on to the live performance.
Most putting of all was a visit I took to the Whitney Plantation, about an hour’s drive from New Orleans alongside the Mississippi River. It is one of many solely sugar plantation museums that tells the story of the individuals who have been enslaved there, reasonably than specializing in rich homeowners or structure.
A Wall of Honor memorial is devoted to a number of hundred slaves, whereas an exhibit describing the 1811 German Coast Rebellion exhibits decapitated heads on poles, a recreation of the executed slaves who participated within the revolt.
The therapy of black folks within the U.S. is explored by Beyoncé in her 2016 album, “Lemonade,” with pictures of black girls on the steps of a former plantation residence that includes on the title observe’s video.
The video for “Formation,” set in Louisiana, exhibits the singer on prime of a New Orleans police automobile because it sinks into floodwaters brought on by Hurricane Katrina, and ends with Beyoncé making a “black-girl air seize” motion whereas sitting in a plantation home.
I used to be particularly excited to see Beyoncé carry out in New Orleans given its significance for her, and on the day of the present it appeared that everybody within the metropolis was there to see the singer.
As I sipped espresso on the resort’s rooftop bar within the morning, a girl within the swimming pool exclaimed: “I am enjoyable … I am doing my aqua aerobics, I wish to be limber for tonight. A person subsequent to her in a yellow Beyoncé-themed prime and cowboy hat held a pink drink.
I went for a superb brunch at Willa Jean, the place the cocktails have been themed round Bey’s songs, after which headed to Vue Orleans, an interactive exhibit on the 4 Seasons Resort that helped me perceive town’s previous.
As I walked towards the museum, a person in a passing automobile yelled: “It is Beyoncé day!” out of the window.
The writer exterior Beyoncé’s live performance at Caesar’s Superdome, New Orleans. Many followers wearing sequins and diamante to observe the present.
Again at my resort, a station for making use of facial glitter was arrange within the first-floor café, whereas a number of sequin-clad company sat on the bar. Beyoncé’s followers make a critical effort with outfits for her exhibits, and as I walked alongside the sidewalk towards the Superdome, I used to be surrounded by a whole lot of individuals whose garments twinkled on the street lights.
Some have been in diamante jumpsuits or lengthy attire, with glowing cowboy hats or thigh-high metallic boots. Others had recreated Beyoncé’s costumes, with bee-themed colours (her “tremendous” followers are often known as the Bey Hive) or rhinestone-decorated sun shades.
I gasped as I noticed the Renaissance set contained in the stadium. It was big, with a soccer pitch-width display and stage, with one other round stage in the course of the ground.
Though my seat was excessive up, I nonetheless had a fantastic view, and as Beyoncé rose up on a platform in a neon yellow robe to sing the primary track of the evening, “Dangerously In Love,” the ambiance was electrical. Her silver-dressed band, who I acknowledged from their efficiency the evening earlier than, appeared on a stepped stage behind her.
Caesars Superdome stadium in New Orleans is illuminated by 1000’s of lights hooked up to viewers members’ wristbands throughout Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour.
As she moved on to songs from the “Renaissance” album, wristbands — that every viewers member had been given — lit up, and it felt like I used to be dancing inside a large disco ball. Later, the lights modified from white to purple for “Drunk In Love,” after which flashed purple, white and blue when Beyoncé sang “America Has A Drawback.”
I had a way of being on the world’s greatest get together, the place everybody got here dressed of their glittering greatest — and everybody was welcome.
From the unimaginable visuals to fireworks and spectacular costumes and dancing, it is arduous to select a favourite second. Beyoncé repeated “Mama Louisiana” — a lyric from “Formation,” a number of occasions — which delighted the viewers, and when Blue Ivy danced to “Black Parade,” it was arduous to listen to her mom’s singing for the screaming round me.
“I hope y’all had the time of your lives,” Beyoncé shouted over the ultimate observe, “Summer time Renaissance,” as she appeared to drift within the air above the viewers in a shimmering silver robe.