Beyoncé performed her first concert in nearly five years on January 21, 2023. The private show took place at Atlantis the Royal hotel in Dubai as a celebration of its opening. According to Today, the luxury hotel paid Beyoncé $24 million dollars to do the show and provided her with a hotel room that costs $100,000 a night.
The elite guests for this private event included Kendall Jenner, Rebel Wilson, Liam Payne, and Ellen Pompeo, among 1,000 other invited guests according to USA Today. Guests wore extravagant outfits and posed in front of large fish tanks and sculptures. One invited guest even wrote, “it was influencer heaven… one recessed pool in the hallway is so well-incorporated into the space, it’s a wonder more people didn’t accidentally fall in.”
During the hour-long concert, Beyoncé sang her well-known songs “Halo,” “Drunk in Love,” “Crazy in Love,” and “Brown Skin Girl”, which her daughter Blue Ivy joined her. Surprisingly, she did not perform any songs from her last album Renaissance, which fans had a lot to say about on Twitter. One posted, “Beyoncé really took $24 million and is performing her old s**t. I love this scammer.”
While this luxurious event seems like a dream, it has sparked much controversy from Beyoncé’s fans. From the fact that Dubai has laws against homosexuality to the no phone policy, people are divided on whether or not to be excited about the potential of more Beyoncé shows. Some think that the famous artist was wrong for performing in an anti-LGBTQ country while inviting guests who are part of the community. Rebel Wilson even brought her girlfriend with her. According to LaineyGossip, “It showcased two worlds – one where rich, foreign, queer couples experience a different side of Dubai.” While another fan wrote “Listen Beyoncé has bills to pay and you best believe there are a lot of out open and happy a** gays in Dubai. It’s called the almighty dollar.”
The no-phone policy also sparked conversation online. According to one invited guest, the hotel provided each person with a special pouch to put their phone in after dinner to ensure that no part of the concert was leaked. This did not work as planned, as pictures and videos of the show were quickly posted online. Beyoncé is not the first artist to do this, however, as Jack White, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, Madonna, and Adele have also banned phones at their shows. This leaves many wondering if this will be the new norm for concerts in the near future. Phones not only distract from the atmosphere of a show but also send a negative message to the performer that people aren’t paying attention.