Beyoncé Plays Her First Concert in Four Years at Dubai Resort

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal

To mark the opening of luxury Dubai resort Atlantis The Royal, Beyoncé headlined an invite-only performance on Saturday.

Beyoncé held her first concert since 2018 at the Dubai luxury resort Atlantis The Royal on Saturday night (January 21). Headlining the nearly 75-minute set — for an exclusive crowd that consisted of JAY-Z, Tina Knowles-Lawson and Mathew Knowles, celebrity guests, journalists and influencers — the 25-time Grammy Award-winner ran through 19 songs from her back catalog, including hits “Countdown,” “XO,” “Beautiful Liar,” “Ave Maria” and “I Care.”

Before concluding the event with her 2013 chart-topper “Drunk In Love,” Knowles-Carter’s eldest daughter, Blue Ivy, made a cameo for “Brown Skin Girl” from the singer’s 2019 The Lion King: The Gift album. “Love to all the brown skin girls. If you love brown skin women, help me sing,” Bey said per The Hollywood Reporter. While the artist refrained from performing songs from her 2022 album Renaissance, she boasted a $24 million payday for the Dubai engagement.

While guests were told that videos or pictures could not be taken, footage from the Dubai performance leaked to social media, some even tagging Beyoncé’s Instagram account. It also appeared that the singer was limping during certain segments of the show, as journalist Gerrick Kennedy noted that Beyoncé had a recent foot surgery.

During the weekend, attendees were also treated to an afterparty with Swedish House Mafia as DJs and an Ivy Park fashion show. While some fans praised Bey for her first full-length concert in nearly five years, others were left divided on her choice to perform in Dubai, as the United Arab Emirates has strict laws against same-sex relationships. Per The Telegraph, Bev Jackson, co-founder of LGB Alliance said the performance “casts a shadow over her support for lesbians and gay people”.

“Beyoncé is a huge icon for many gay people. LGB Alliance is deeply therefore disappointed that Beyoncé has agreed to give a lucrative concert in Dubai, where same-sex sex acts are a criminal offence, potentially punishable by death,” Jackson added.

Released last July, Renaissance was largely influenced by queer ballroom culture, also dedicated to Bey’s “godmother” Uncle Jonny, who died of HIV-related conditions.

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