On Saturday, January 21, Beyoncé made a return to the stage at the opening of a resort in Dubai — for an audience of hand-picked celebrities, media, and influencers.
For her first live show since her poignant Kobe Bryant tribute in 2020, Queen Bey was allegedly paid $24 million to perform at the opening of the Atlantis the Royal hotel, which will start taking room reservations in February. Though recording of the concert was strictly prohibited, with guests asked to place their phones in plastic bags, leaked footage instantly went viral across social media.
Beyoncé opened the show with a rendition of Etta James' "At Last," which was followed by hits like 2008's "Halo," 2003's "Crazy in Love," and her first performance of "Beautiful Liar," a 2006 collaboration with Shakira, in 15 years.
The evening also included an appearance by Bey and Jay-Z's 11-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, who performed a duet of the song "Brown Skin Girl" with her mother. During the performance, Beyoncé wore a yellow gown by the Dubai-based Atelier Zuhra, while Blue Ivy wore a red sequined suit. Beyoncé's other outfits included a red gown and pants ensemble by Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran.
Despite her characteristically flawless performance, the 41-year-old singer's decision to perform in Dubai has drawn some criticism from commentators — given the fact that homosexuality is illegal and same-sex activity is punishable by death in the United Arab Emirates.
It's worth pointing out Beyoncé did not perform any tracks from her 2022 album RENAISSANCE, which earned acclaim for paying tribute to the sounds of queer club music. However, many still criticized the choice to appear in Dubai.
\u201cBeyhive forever but..Beyonc\u00e9 performing a whole new show for sheiks & billionaires, whilst her fans can\u2019t even get a crumb of Renaissance visuals. AND In Dubai of all places, which actively excludes the community that inspired her latest album. Idk idk\u201d— jono \ud83e\udd8b (@jono \ud83e\udd8b) 1674346147
Ahead of the event, Pitchfork reported that journalists from a number of publications had been invited to an "once-in-a-lifetime performance" with a surprise musical act, which was later revealed to be Beyoncé. Attendees included select media, influencers, as well as celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Rebel Wilson, Liam Payne, Chloe x Halle, Letitia Wright, and Swedish House Mafia.
On Saturday, Beyoncé's publicist distributed a media alert about her performance of "At Last" accompanied by some official footage from the concert. They noted that there was "more to come."
During a live auction in October 2022, Beyoncé confirmed an upcoming RENAISSANCE World Tour for Summer 2023, though no general access dates have been released yet.
\u201cBeyonc\u00e9\u2019s publicist just sent out professional footage from the Dubai concert and said there\u2019s \u201cmore to come\u2026\u201d\u201d— Nicholas Hautman (@Nicholas Hautman) 1674336541
Photo by Mason Poole/Parkwood Media/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal
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