Beyoncé made her grand return to the stage this weekend in her first live performance since 2018’s “Beychella” spectacle.
The songstress stepped back in front of a live audience for the first time to commemorate the Grand Reveal of Dubai’s newest ultra-luxury resort destination, Atlantis The Royal. The star-studded affair featured celebrity sightings of Chlöe & Halle Bailey, Nia Long, Winston Duke, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, British Vogue Editor Edward Enninful, and of course, her doting husband Jay-Z among the audience.
Though grand, the set was a notable departure from the heavily choreographed, bass-thumping stage shows Beyoncé has become known for. Accompanied by the famed 1500 or Nothin’ live band, 48-person all-female orchestra Firdaus, mentored by Academy Award-winning composer, A.R. Rahman, her own backup dancers and The Mayyas, an all-female precision dance group from Lebanon, choreographed by Fatima Robinson, the 24-time Grammy winner opted for a more ballad-driven show, surprisingly performing little to no choreography herself.
Opening the Grand Reveal performance with a fireworks show, flames and sparks emitting from the hotel’s roof and balconies overhead and simultaneously across the water in the distance, Beyoncé rose from the rear of stage donning a bright yellow gown by Dubai-based designer Atelier Zuhra, jewels by Lorraine Schwartz, and Manolo Blahnik shoes, launching into her moving rendition of Etta James’ “At Last.”
Centered on the stage, decorated in traditional Grecian style with a painting of white stone sculptures overlooking – instead featuring Black phenotypical features and hair textures – Beyoncé descended the stairs. She welcomed the crowd to the experience, introducing her band and dancers, appreciatively noting that her family was there to see her perform.
“My parents are here tonight,” she said, smiling. “My mother and my father. My beautiful children are here tonight, to watch their mother perform. And of course, my beautiful husband.”
Inviting the crowd to call and response sing-along, she transitioned into her 2013 hit “XO,” followed by “Flaws and All” surprising the audience with an instrumental interpolation of Camp Lo’s 1997 Hip-Hop classic “Luchini,” surreptitiously incorporating the Grand Reveal slogan, This is It.
In keeping with the theme of family, Beyonce’s first-born daughter Blue Ivy Carter next rose from the rear of stage, singing the introductory notes of “BROWN SKIN GIRL,” joining her mother at her side for their first-ever public duet performance of the 2019 hit, dedicated to “the beautiful brown-skinned girls from all over the world.” Beyoncé also interpolated lyrics from India.Arie’s 2001 hit “Brown Skin.”
After exiting the stage for a performance of “Spirit of Rangeela” by the Firdaus Orchestra and a dance set by The Myyas, Beyoncé returned donning an opulent red gown with pants by Lebanese fashion designer Nicolas Jebran, again topped with Lorraine Schwartz jewels. Launching into several tracks from her 2019 Lion King/Black Is King accompaniment album, The Gift, the songstress’ vocals soared in performances of “Otherside,” “Bigger,” and “Spirit.”
Wrapping the set with a rare performance of “Beautiful Liar,” Beyoncé once again retreated from stage while the America’s Got Talent-winning dance team The Myyas showed off a joint-bending precision dance performance to the tune of “Bwatwanis Beek,” a noted classic in Arab nations.
The songstress re-emerged to the opening notes of “Crazy In Love (Fifty Shades of Grey Version),” donning a sheer pink and crystal-embellished dress, gloves & tights by Frolov, once again with Lorraine Schwartz jewels and accented with shoes by Malone Souliers.
After transitioning into the standard rendition of “Crazy in Love” complete with its signature dance moves, then into “Countdown,” Beyoncé then incorporated her husband’s famed 2002 remix to Panjabi MC’s “Mundian To Bach Ke,” largely known in the US as “Beware of the Boys” into her performance of “Naughty Girl,” accompanied by Middle Eastern precision dance by The Myyas.
Descending to the fountain and eventually through the audience for her final song, Beyonce delivered a powerful solo rendition of “Drunk in Love,” finally closing out the performance raised 16 feet above Atlantis The Royal’s performance fountain Skyblaze, surrounded by a field of water spouts and fire as she delivered the final notes and celebratory fireworks rang out.
See her full Grand Reveal setlist below:
Flaws & All
BROWN SKIN GIRL ft. Blue Ivy Carter
Crazy in Love (Fifty Shades of Grey Version)
Crazy in Love
Drunk in Love
Check out more pictures of Beyoncé’s extravagant performance for the Grand Reveal of Atlantis The Royal in Dubai below: