If you saw an influx of silver attire, mirror tiled cowboy hats and rhinestones parading across South Los Angeles over the Labor Day weekend, you may have wondered if you time traveled back to the 70’s disco era. You did – well, sort of.
Beyoncé was in town for her three day sold-out stint at the Sofi Stadium to promote her critically acclaimed Renaissance (2022) album. Renaissance was conceptualized during COVID-19 lockdowns and marks her seventh studio album after a six year hiatus. The Grammy award winning album was an ode to the LGBTQ+ community with inspiration from 70’s dance and club culture. Think Studio 54 and vogue ballroom mixed with Beyoncé’s Southern influences and afro-futurism.
The Beyhive, as she affectionately calls her fanbase, was treated to special surprises on her final LA date, Sept. 4, which also marked her 42nd birthday. During one transition between acts, Diana Ross, the queen diva herself, sauntered down the stage in a black sequin dress with voluminous fur sleeves. The legendary Motown songstress led the over 70,000 attendees in a birthday serenade for Beyoncé. Kendrick Lamar also made a surprise appearance to perform the remix of “America Has A Problem,” which he’s featured on.
Fans like Daniel Rivera, 30, flew across the country from Baltimore, MD just to attend the birthday show. “I know it’s bad, but I bought the concert ticket before the plane ticket,” Rivera said. “I was like okay, I’ll just figure the rest out but I’m going to see her.” This was Rivera’s first concert ever, his first time flying alone and first time traveling to California.
The Beyhive was treated to other special surprises during Beyoncé’s LA dates including opening act performances from DJ Khaled and Kaytranada, appearances by her daughter Blue-Ivy Carter, in addition to Bey’s very own performance of the Big 3. The Big 3, a nickname given by the hive, includes the body positive anthem “Thique”, the sensual “All Up In Your Mind” and the Dubai version of “Drunk In Love” which features a rift so ethereal sounding the gates of heaven opened. Beyoncé has been selective about which cities get the Big 3.
Fans also looked for a chance to secure exclusive merch that sold out instantly such as an LA city Renaissance t-shirt and a very limited edition “Virgo’s Groove” birthday t-shirt. Emkate, an environmental science major and sophomore at University of California Irvine, drove about an hour just to purchase the birthday merch despite not having a concert ticket for the birthday show. “An hour isn’t really a bad drive and I had nothing to do today,” she said. “I’m hoping to exchange my hoodie for the birthday shirt.
Other heartfelt moments from the birthday show include a tearful three minute speech from Beyoncé about how thankful she was for the love and support throughout the years. Fans surprised her by waving yellow and black balloons as a birthday tribute.
The Renaissance tour has grossed over $461 million to date, making Beyoncé the record holder for highest grossing tour by a woman artist in history. Eight more shows remain including two dates in her hometown, Houston, TX and Kansas City, MO where it will conclude in October.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported Kansas City, KS as the location where Beyoncé will conclude her tour. The correct location is Kansas City, MO.