Beyoncé has done it again—not that we ever had a shred of doubt, of course. Heating up the dusty terrains of Indio, California, Beyoncé proves why she is an irreplaceable force in the modern music scene. The first black woman to headline Coachella, she smashes out her now historic two-hour set with memorable hits, mind-numbing choreography, jaw-dropping surprises, and an overall astounding sense of showmanship that every act following her should very well take note of.
“Coachella, y’all ready?” Beyoncé teases, taking a few moments to take in the deafening applause and maddening screams from the audience. As the curtain of fireworks receded into pitch black, the woman the world has crowned Queen B sauntered down the pyramid-like bleachers, parting a sea of 100 musicians, including brass and string players, a drum line, a baton twirler and a step squad (hello, Bug-a-boos) all clad in a rich and scintillating marigold.
Right from the get-go, Beyoncé had us hooked. Facing the audience in silence before a heart-pounding drum chorus punctured the stillness, she then powered through the massive stage in a Nefertiti-inspired blinged out Balmain number, complete with a stunning headpiece. It had “bow down, b*tches” written all over it and we were, for lack of a better word, living for every shred of the subsequent set that now makes every other performance in Coachella pale in comparison to her showing.
And bow down we all did, even if some of us had to contend with a crawling third world internet speed just to enjoy the heaven sent live stream from Coachella.
Well over a year in the making, Beyoncé pulled out at the last minute last year after she announced that she was expecting twins. Not one to leave anyone hanging, the consummate performer and professional promised to come back the second she was ready. And boy was she more than ready. “I just wanna say thank you guys. I’m so happy that I am here,” she says at the tail-end of what seemed to be a sneak peek at her On The Run Tour II with Jay-Z. “I was supposed to perform at Coachella before but, I ended up getting pregnant…Thank God. So, I had time to dream and dream and dream with two beautiful souls in my belly and I dreamt up this performance and this is everything and more than I ever dreamt of it being. And thank you guys for sharing this with me. I hoped you all enjoyed the show. I worked very hard.”
Working the stage to the ground, Beyoncé commanded the massive crowd with throwback hits, as well as rearranged versions of her songs from the soul-baring album, Lemonade.
Over the course of the program, Beyoncé rocked out to custom-made Balmain pieces that truly matched the swelling energy of the singer. From the vibrant yellow hoodie paired with denim cut-offs and fringed boots, the patent bodysuit matched with a parka in a similar sheen and even the mesh top she wore for the Deja Vu number with Jay-Z, it was a fashion spectacle after the other. Needless to say, her 5-piece collaboration with Olivier Rousteing was an unmatched knockout.
Pulling out all the stops, Beyoncé enlisted a handful of people near and dear heart to help elevate the show to an other-worldly level. Following the Jay-Z duet and a rousing percussion intermission, she emerged at the top of the bleachers in what would be her final costume change for the night—a bedazzled camouflage dress with matching boots. “Thank you Coachella for allowing me to be the first black woman to headline,” she says catching her breath. “Ain’t that ‘bout a b*tch.”
This was more than just a musical spectacle unmatched—this was the very definition of statement-making entertainment. Transitioning to a segment of woman empowerment, Beyoncé riled up all the independent women and headstrong queens to the tune of Run The World (Girls). As if that wasn’t stirring enough, the familiar instrumentation of Lose My Breath filled the air and there stood the memorable triumvirate of Kelly, Michelle and Beyoncé in a silhouette. (That’s Destiny’s Child to all of you young’uns.)
“Do you all remember this song?” she asks the crowd as they all stood in a neat and familiar formation, all clad in the same bedazzled camouflage fabric, immediately calling to mind their iconic Survivor video. “I want you to sing every word.” And so everyone sang to their hearts content.
From sisters in music to a sister by blood, Beyoncé brought to the stage Solange Knowles where they had an energetic and fun-as-heck dance off to Get Me Bodied. With what appears to be a childhood favorite and now a Coachella tradition, the twosome dipped, patted and dropped much to the delight of the crowd.
If there is anything to learn from Beyoncé’s Coachella performance is that there is no such thing as taking it easy. One would assume that a woman of her stature in the industry would rely on the theatrics accorded to her, but not the Queen B. A sweat-drenched and out-of-breath set that dished out memorable hits, mind-numbing choreography, jaw-dropping surprises, and an overall sense of fiery showmanship that will leave every following act pale in comparison. Setting the standards, or well, breaking the barometer of expectations, Beyoncé reminds us once more that she is an indefatigable, unshakable and unmatched legend—nothing more, nothing less.
And if you will take things a step further, this is a realization that anyone who dares half ass anything should ask themselves from here on out: “What would Beyoncé do?”
Clearly, Coachella will never be the same after this. And very rightfully so. Good job, Bey.