Beyoncé’s Renaissance Tour: Unpacking the Symbolism of Queen Bey’s Disco Cowboy Wonderland

What do giant robot arms, a news desk, and an enormous horse sculpture have in common? They’re all currently traversing Europe with Beyoncé’s Renaissance world tour, which kicked off May 10 in Stockholm, Sweden. Following her album’s release last July, the Beyhive has been growing restless in the absence of any Renaissance visuals—which fans have come to expect from the songstress after her groundbreaking visual albums Beyoncé, Lemonade, and Black Is King cemented the Grammy winner as a trailblazer of world-building within her artistry. She even poked fun at the brewing discontent during an interlude in the concert: “You’ve asked for the visuals, you’ve called for the queen,” a voiceover with accompanying text read out on the big screen. “But a queen moves at her own pace, b*tch, decides when she wants to give you a f*cking taste. So get your fork and spoon, if you got one.”

Barring the official debut of videos fans have only seen in snippets and teasers thus far, Beyoncé’s production design for the Renaissance concerts treats stadia of attendees on the 40-city, 57-show extravaganza to some of the most thrilling—and playful—wonders of the artist’s touring career. Equal parts retro psychedelic and chrome-futuristic, concertgoers AD reached out to agree that Renaissance looks to offer the singer-songwriter’s biggest-budget touring set yet. Stufish Entertainment Architects and Es Devlin Studio are to thank for the tour’s stage design (along with presumably plenty of input from Beyoncé herself, who is credited as director, executive producer, and creative director.)

Beyoncé wearing a metallic iridescent ensemble by Georgian designer David Koma on the first night of the Renaissance tour. She previously wore Koma’s designs to the 2020 Oscars. 

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Rodrigo Fantini last saw Queen Bey at her On The Run II Tour in 2018. A Beyhive faithful, he attended the first two dates of the Renaissance tour in Stockholm and will rejoin the party in a few months when she stops through SoCal. He described the production for the set as “crazy expensive.” Though AD could not confirm the production budget, Forbes claims that the Renaissance world tour could bring in as much as $2.1 billion. The publication estimates that ticket prices alone will net between $680 million and $2.4 billion (on the very high end), but merchandise sales are expected to inflate those figures further—Forbes projects those could earn the mogul approximately $171 million. By comparison, Beyoncé’s 2018 On the Run II Tour with husband Jay-Z grossed over $250 million, also per Forbes. Her last solo tour, 2016’s Formation, brought in over $256 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Of course she’s an amazing singer, I love her songs, but besides that I was really impressed by the visuals,” Fantini says. “I think this is the best done so far for her tours…. And I feel that they put a lot of effort into all the details that they have for each song, it feels like for each song there is something different going on.” Reportedly clocking in at roughly three hours’ run time, Renaissance has no opening act.

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