Queen Bey
In honor of Beyoncé's 2023 'Renaissance' tour, here are 10 performances that prove her star power — ...
Beyoncé’s Live Shows, Ranked By How Badly I Wanted To Be There

I’m dangerously in love with these performances.

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When Beyoncé flexed that she’s an otherworldly “mastermind” on “Alien Superstar,” that wasn’t for show. That braggadocious flare speaks volumes to her status as a pop icon, a title she’s preserved for more than a decade. The Houston-born singer knows how to breathe life to her music in a live performance, and you can feel that skill through the screen. As someone who has never seen her in concert before, the creative vision and tenacity she brings to the stage always leaves me in awe — and I sometimes question if she’s even a human being. But now (not to flex), I’ll get to experience her star power live.

On Feb. 1, Beyoncé shared the dates for her upcoming Renaissance tour. Many shocked fans reacted to the news on social media, with some even noting their willingness to drop some big bucks for a seat. Others (including me) registered for specific cities in the tour’s lineup and were able to score tickets, despite doubting that Ticketmaster wouldn’t be able to handle the storm that is BeyHive. Renaissance has been on a constant loop for me since last summer, so to know I’ll witness bops like “America Has A Problem,” “Virgo’s Groove,” and “All Up In Your Mind” (which receives so much undeserved flack) live has my brain spiraling.

Of course, with excitement comes a little saltiness. Some online crowds voiced how they weren’t excited about the upcoming shows, mainly because they’re not fans of Beyoncé’s work. Meanwhile, others believe that an artist of her stature should no longer tour and could support Renaissance in a different way. Recently, music journalist Toure sparked controversy on Twitter for echoing a similar statement, suggesting that Beyoncé being “super wealthy, a mother, and not young” are qualifiers to sit out an extensive tour.

It’s always jarring to see people get riled up about Beyoncé, or have problematic takes, like Toure’s. Beyoncé rarely hits the road, and when she does, she serves up performances with nearly flawless vocals, complex dance routines, and sets that visually look luxe enough to belong in the Louvre. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that experience?

In honor of her Renaissance tour, here are 10 live performances from Beyoncé that live in my head rent free.

“Dangerously In Love 2,” 2004 Grammys

Beyoncé’s 2003 debut, Dangerously In Love, is a sonic gem. The album has always oozed an awing confidence, almost as if Beyoncé knew this solo release would elevate her as pop-R&B royalty. You can feel that assuredness in her performance of “Dangerously In Love 2” at the 2004 Grammys, where she won five awards for the album. Similar to the record, this performance has aged like fine wine and shows that her mic was on as she sang those rousing runs.

“Ring The Alarm,” 2006 MTV VMAs

Beyoncé’s 2006 album B’Day sits in my top five from her discography, so witnessing her perform “Ring The Alarm” during this era would’ve had me jumping out of my seat. In this performance, Beyoncé warns the crowd of her appearance with a blaring alarm. She then emerges from the ceiling in a trench coat, where she recreates the police interrogation scene from the music video while her dancers are caged in the background. Eventually, the dancers break free and wreak havoc with Beyoncé by bursting out into choreography, which is a bit reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s moves in “You Rock My World.”

“If I Were A Boy,” 2010 Grammys

Beyoncé seems to have her most captivating and historic moments on the Grammys stage, and her live rendition of her I Am... Sasha Fierce single, “If I Were A Boy,” is a perfect example. Clad in an all-black ‘fit, you can sense that her Sasha Fierce alter ego was clocked in and ready to stun by the first note. Beyoncé then surprisingly sang a verse from Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” before returning to her original song.

“Love On Top,” 2011 MTV VMAs

“Love On Top” has always been a feel-good bop and a throat sore for when I trick myself into thinking I can ace that key change in the chorus. Luckily, Beyoncé proved she can vocally climb those octaves during her performance at the 2011 VMAs. Sporting that memorable sequin tuxedo jacket, the singer sashayed across the stage with clear high notes before revealing that she was pregnant with her first child, Blue Ivy. Now full circle, her daughter occasionally graces the stage with her for a song or two.

“Run the World,” 2011 Billboard Music Awards

This performance is so legendary that even Lizzo (whose also a Queen Bey stan) paid homage to it at the 2022 VMAs. Beyoncé’s energy was unlike no other in this set, as evidenced by her growling vocals and throaty runs. Beyoncé showed that while she’s known for having an entire band and dancers behind her, she can still command the stage with her presence and a green screen.

The Beyoncé Experience Live (2007)

As previously established, B’Day Beyoncé will always have a special place in my heart. In this era, the brewing BeyHive witnessed a new energetic Bey — one that wasn’t too fond of creating slow, bedroom tunes. Instead, she arrived on the scene with a gust of rhythm, belting fiery lyrics over thrashing drums and Darkchild-slicked beats. To me, this funk-fest of a record is her most slept on, so I’m grateful she dedicated an entire concert film to it. In her 2007 Beyoncé Experience Live, she served up pure dramatics and vocals, singing bops from B’Day (think “Green Light,” “Freakum Dress,” and “Get Me Bodied”) and her debut album.

“Freedom,” 2016 BET Awards

Beyoncé’s Lemonade single, “Freedom,” is exceptional. The anthem, which sees the the singer confronting systemic racism alongside Kendrick Lamar, is rooted with raw emotion and rich hymns that hail from a Southern Black church. The track’s charged energy is powerful enough to bring you to your knees; however, hearing it live will lift you back to your feet. Bathed in red lighting and a shallow pool of water, both Beyoncé and Kendrick delivered a fiery performance that can convert any skeptic of their abilities.

2013 Super Bowl Halftime Show

I still can’t believe there was a football game at a Beyoncé concert. In 2013, the Renaissance singer performed during the Super Bowl’s halftime show, and she left me speechless. She seamlessly sang through a catalogue of her hits (“Crazy In Love,” “Baby Boy,” and “Single Ladies”), which was a moment in itself. However, the true highlight came during her brief reunion with Destiny’s Child, where they performed “Independent Women Pt. 1” and “Bootylicious.” Seriously, listening to them indulge in those staple harmonies gave me chills.

“Love Drought/Sandcastles,” 2017 Grammys

This performance belongs in an art gallery. At the 2017 Grammys, Beyoncé performed two ballads from her 2016 Lemonade album, “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles.” At the time, this was her first public appearance since announcing she was pregnant with twins, Rumi and Sir. Stunningly, she centered her relationship with motherhood — while also sprinkling in themes of rebirth and healing — in this rendition.

Coachella, 2018

OK, cue in Lady Gaga’s adjective-inventive meme to perfectly describe how iconic this performance is. Beychella was a reminder that Beyoncé can perform for nearly two hours without skipping a beat. Overnight, this riveting set became a pop culture landmark, with social media exploding in reactions raving over her artistry. For those who tuned in, it’s almost as though you can remember where you were and who you were with when this moment aired.