Beyonce made history at Coachella on Saturday as the first black woman to headline the almost 20-year old festival. In a career spanning and genre-bending two-hour spectacle, Beyonce delivered the dance moves that made her a household name as well as those who have supported her along the way.
The two-hour long set brought out her husband Jay-Z who Beyonce will hit the road with for the On The Road II tour later this year. She also had a show-stopping reunion with her fellow Destiny’s Child members and danced with her sister, Solange.
While the epic set ebbed and flowed with enthusiasm and fans, Beyonce took the headlining spot to highlight the great works she has provided over her extensive career.
The Beyhive had more than a year to prepare for the Queen Bee to descend on Coachella Music and Arts Festival after she postponed last year’s performance due to her pregnancy with twins, and the hive was ready for her arrival.
Beyonce’s notoriously fierce followers flooded the music festival in shirts with her face on it, tour merchandise, lemonade yellow dresses and inflatable baseballs. In anticipation of her arrival, festivalgoers were camped out at the main stage all day including the more than hour-long break between HAIM’s final song and Beyonce’s opening notes.
Every other stage at the festival ceased activity, leaving eager fans with only each other for noise as Beyonce’s set time approached. Finally, the lights went down and a voice announced “Welcome to Beyonce’s Homecoming 2018.”
A massive dance crew and marching band filled the bleachers that were erected on the stage. The entire cast of performers were decked out in lemonade yellow as they trumpeted the arrival of the Queen Bey.
Fireworks shot off from behind the stage and Beyonce launched into her set with “Crazy in Love.” The song saw the dance crew back the singer in unison flawlessly until they rumbled into “Formation.”
Her fellow performers were perfectly in-sync with the pop star. When Beyonce dipped and outstretched her arms in the shape of a plane, her dancers didn’t miss a beat mimicking the same move.
The sea of yellow, including Beyonce who was sporting cut-off shorts and a yellow sweatshirt, moved into “Sorry” where she acted out taunting her male dancers to make her laugh.
When they didn’t succeed she asked the crowd “Ladies, are we smart? Are we strong? Have we had enough? Show me.”
Beyonce and the female dancers sang out the lyrics “Suck on my balls” before transitioning to her 2013 song “Bow Down.” Her voice was distorted through the microphone as she sang, giving off a deep and sinister tone as more fireworks exploded from either end of the stage.
The “Lemonade” singer hopped onto an outstretched platform and soared above the cheering audience, giving the fans who went all the way back a chance to see the performer in the flesh.
When Beyonce left the stage for a costume change, a sample of Nina Simone singing “Lilac Wine” came over the speakers which gave a stoic tone to the transition. The bleachers were cleared and a contortionist entertained the crowd while Beyonce changed into an all black number.
The voice over announced that after Beyonce completed her set that night, they would be renaming the festival “Beychella.”
Beyonce’s return signaled a change in the set. The second portion of her two-hour long performance took on a more art-house feel with samples from reggae songs like Dawn Penn’s “No, No, No” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself” which she performed with an all-female band.
An hour into the performance, the more dramatic tone of performance lost a lot of fans. Thinking they had come for the hits alone, many festivalgoers gave out after the long day and headed to the parking lots and Beyonce played a portion of “Hold Up.”
The mood was revived around 12:30 a.m., when Beyonce was joined on stage by her husband, Jay-Z. Mrs. Carter danced around her husband as he rapped on “Déjà Vu.”
“Coachella! Thank you for letting me be the first black woman to headline Coachella,” Beyonce said to the reinvigorated crowd. She then dedicated the next song “Run the World (Girls)” to all those who opened doors for her and made it possible for her to be there.
The momentum continued to build as Beyonce, Michelle Williams, and Kelly Rowland were silhouetted like Charlie’s Angels and brought the audience to a deafening roar. The members of Destiny’s Child sang several of their classic hits together, showing off a lasting friendship and chemistry that literally brought attendees to tears.
The final surprise guest of the evening was Beyonce’s sister, Solange, who came out with her fierce white hair. Solange danced alongside her big sister for an extended version of “Get Me Bodied” to the crowd’s delight.
“I am so happy that I am here. I was supposed to perform at Coachella before but I ended up being pregnant,” Beyonce said. “So I had time to dream with two souls in my belly. This is more than I dreamt it would be.”
A thankful Beyonce dedicated the final song of the night “Love On Top,” to her most loyal fans, her “Ride or Dies.” She humbly acknowledged her enormous cast and crew and left the stage to a fireworks show that lit the sky for several minutes after her departure.