Photo by: Madeline Fening
Beyoncé plays for L&N Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky on July 17, 2023.
The understatement of acknowledging Beyoncé’s return to one of the Midwest’s finest most beloved platforms and our dearest neighbor, Louisville, as a phenomenal show would pain me. Where do we even start when encapsulating the vast array of imagery and memories all uniquely enriched with their own flavors and potencies? What Queen Bey displayed and shared with the fellowship she’s nurtured for a self-registered 25 years is astounding beyond measure. The woman is a supernova of unregistered force, and her audience transcends personal and collective bounds with her inspiration and intention. To witness her mastered mind execute such a powerful production with such ease, style, groove and command is an invaluable blessing that we will recount with the vivacious vigor of our Virgo queen for the rest of our days.
From the very moment the "Renaissance Tour" experience embarks, it is evident of the confidence of the crowd’s expectations of the upcoming spectacle. Witnessing the display of patience, community engagement, conflict resolution and preparedness from the BeyHive, I truly believe the troupe could teach us all about the reward of conducting ourselves as high-functioning individuals when in the presence of a divine super-talent. Beyond worth the wait, she beats the storm before a soft and swift digital display of chromatic mechanics in a custom black D-Squared body suit covered in shagged-sequins that spiral down an asymmetrical cascading ruffled hem that frames our first glance at the Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter.
The tone for the show is seriously set as she greets us with a severely serene swoon of “Dangerously in Love.” This gracious gift then glides into a mindful medley with features by Mary J. Blige with “I’m Going Down” and the late legend Tina Turner’s “River Deep – Mountain High” surrounded by the album 4’s heaviest hitters “1+1” and “I Care.” The power ballads boast vocals and beats that immediately cut sharp and reach the heart deep. Empaths beware as we all stand defenseless and truly at the surrender of emotion, attention, focus and admiration as Heaven’s orchestra and choral army soar on a chromed-out cloud floating through the abyss, surrounding the stylish sonic sorceress. Glory!
The temperature rises as our leggy lady of logic rampantly strides into our current era’s “I’m That Girl” surfing in a silver one-sleeved Courreges suit. “These mothafuckaz ain’t stopping me,” the mother of three chants on the hypnotic “I’M THAT GIRL." We bouncingly move forward with highlights of our favorite tracks from Renaissance with a sophisticatedly cheeky and camp round out with “Alien Superstar.” Clad in gold, the movement shifts to the empowerment of humanity with direct attention to Black women, our queer heroes, feminist icons and healers around the globe. With a break from words of affirmations like “OPULENCE,” we read the names of the female leaders listed in the Madonna remix of “BREAK MY SOUL” which closely followed social media’s favorite “CUFF IT.” #BRIANATAYLOR
My partner on this journey, CityBeat news reporter Madeline Fening and I had to pause, recalibrate, and rehydrate, as adults do.
One does not simply turn their back on a queen and slowly walk to utilize the facility’s amenities—no ma’am. At full sprint in a 5-inch jelly Melissa platform sandal, Fening and I jet to wiz and re-up on Mike’s Hard Lemonade as Beyoncé continues to hype the ladies up with “Formation” and “Diva.” It truly exposed to us how there was not a bad seat in the house. As the vocals traveled through the concrete hallways of the stadium fiercely, the attendants made their coin and had their eyes charmed by one of the globe’s greatest voices. Making it back in time for “Run the World,” we are seamlessly reintegrated into the groove.
Our Venus amps up the steam with some of her saucier numbers like her remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage,” the unrestrained “Partition” and unapologetic “CHURCH GIRL.” Y’all can imagine the collective shimmy, the wide-ranged hair flips (some more metaphorical than others), the palm-to-knee back breaks and uncontrollable gyrating that overtook the crowd. Our leader in lust turned the L&N Stadium to Damascus and we leaned all of the way in, honey.
Being the well-balanced cocktail that the queen has crafted herself to be, she brings us back to focus on the true root of her life’s work — love. Hitting us with her cover of Maze and Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go,” a hit that debuted at her record-breaking Coachella set in 2018 as the first African American woman to headline, we lean into the family reunion vibes. Shared love pushes the band’s limits and patience when the audience refuses to let go of the iconic runs in “Love on Top”—“C'mon baby it’s you-u-u-u-U!” These are the moments that strike the performer and showcase how much she truly appreciates and nurtures her audience.
With a warning from Diana Ross’ “Love Hangover,” the dancing queen closes us out with some of the hardest-hitting disco/trap jams to date. “VIRGO’S GROOVE” into “Naughty Girl” ... are you effing kidding me, lady? Thank you! That will be the only way we listen going forward. Her latest album has proved to be some of her most adventurous efforts. With such an impressive catalog that has broken radio and media records of all sorts, it was very exciting to be made aware that some of these newer songs have earned their ranks as Beyoncé’s new favorite records to revisit such as “HEATED.”
Following a sweet and special acknowledgment of the artist’s cherished Uncle Johnny, who we have learned is a major influence on the megastar as a guardian and fashion icon, the sweet and sticky “PURE/HONEY” is cast off by the infectious “SUMMER RENAISSANCE.” A fiery frenzy ensues and the BeyHive buzzes for one final blowout. It is evident that from start to finish the star has made it a mission to engage the crowd and leave us fully nourished. We could never ask more because the plate is full and we have cleaned it.
Now it is time for us to head home, where the sidewalks become a makeshift PayLess as the girls ditch their boots and stilettos for flip flops and rush home before the timeliest storm strikes and washes away all evidence of the glittery good time that was had that night.