SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KRON) – From the moment Beyoncé took the Levi’s Stadium stage at 9:02 p.m. Wednesday night to her departure nearly 2.5 hours later, she had the “Beyhive” buzzing. The packed, frenzied crowd sang along to the iconic performer’s every song and matched her shimmering costumes with outfits just as exotic and eye-catching.
Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour stopped in the Bay Area for just one night, and tens of thousands of rabid fans descended on Levi’s Stadium to spectate. They flew in from as far as Tokyo for a chance to see the superstar in action.
Beyoncé put a memo out on her Instagram and website on Aug. 23: wear silver to the next month of shows. The crowd obliged. A look around the stadium showed a plethora of silver garments: sparkly silver dresses, silver wings attached to the back of a top and silver cowboy hats – just as Beyoncé herself wore for the Renaissance album’s art.
Each member of the crowd had their own twist on how to dress for a Beyoncé concert, and the “Queen Bey” took notice.
“I love to look into the audience and see all the effort and love y’all put into y’all’s wardrobes,” she said.
The crowd was noticeably diverse – young and old, white and Black, American and foreign. One older man used crutches to get to his seat and watch the show.
“She brings people together from all walks of life,” said JJ, a middle-aged man with several gold chains hanging from his neck.
Beyoncé dedicated the Renaissance album to her uncle Johnny, a gay man who died when the singer was 17 years old. According to Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles, Johnny helped raise Beyoncé and her sister Solange.
Due to the album’s backstory, its house-style sound, and the “voguing” dances that Beyoncé and her team performed on-stage, LGBTQ+ attendees felt a special connection to the show.
“(The album) is for the gays,” said Bryan from Southern California, who asked to be referred to as “Bryoncé.”
“She’s showing what we do on a (regular) Thursday night and putting it on a bigger platform,” said Kyle, a gay man who flew in from Los Angeles and will be seeing Beyoncé again on Sept. 4.
Beyoncé’s show was different from that of Taylor Swift, who rocked Levi’s Stadium a month prior. Swift’s tour was called “The Eras Tour” – an ode to her evolution as an artist – while Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour included every song off the new album, instead of older classics such as “Halo” and “Drunk in Love.”
Wednesday’s show started an hour late – bad news to the fans who showed up early but good news to those snarled in Bay Area traffic. She came out wearing a black dress with her hair wrapped up in a red scarf and performed six of her classic hits like “Dangerously in Love” and “1+1” before diving into the Renaissance album.
The songs on the album were performed in order, with other Beyoncé hits including “Formation” and “Green Light” dispersed in between them. For Renaissance’s opening track “I’M THAT GIRL,” she emerged from behind the stage in a silver dress and boots that went up to her mid-thigh.
After four songs, she changed into a white-and-black dress and futuristic sunglasses that she wore for Renaissance hits like “CUFF IT” and “BREAK MY SOUL,” which she performed while prancing around a secondary stage in the middle of the floor seats.
Every small move that the legendary singer made seemed to have a purpose. Each glance, step and smile were plastered on the massive screen behind the performers, visible to those from the “B Hive” and “Club Renaissance” sections on the floor to fans in the top row.
The show featured a large crew of silver-clad dancers and musicians who were more than just background performers. Many of them got a chance to shine with instrumental solos, dances highlighted on the big screen, or singing performances as Beyoncé changed backstage.
Perhaps the highlight of the night came when Beyoncé brought out her 11-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, to dance with her on stage. As Beyoncé herself pointed out, Blue Ivy was dancing under the blue supermoon that shined Wednesday night. Wearing matching shirts that resembled hockey jerseys, mother and daughter danced together on-stage for “My Power” before Blue Ivy exited to a shrieking applause.
For the song “Love on Top,” Beyoncé cut off the music and allowed the crowd to sing a capella. As they did all night, the Beyhive belted out each word.
The show had no shortage of flashy props, with Beyoncé at one point riding onto stage atop a model truck and a gigantic disco ball later moving above the crowd on the floor. While the queen was backstage changing, the audience was kept entertained by visuals on the big screen and performances from her team.
The final five songs of the set were from Renaissance. Beyoncé finished the show on top of a glittery fake silver horse, which was suspended above the crowd before landing on the secondary stage.
After Beyoncé said goodbye and the lights came on, the crowd murmured approval. “My life is changed,” said a young woman walking out with her friends.
Levi’s Stadium is the home of the San Francisco 49ers. It has seen tremendous performances by stars like Christian McCaffrey and Nick Bosa, but Wednesday night, a star exponentially more popular delivered a showcase performance of her own with fans perhaps more passionate than the Niner Gang cheering on her every move.