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Beyoncé Chicago review: Singer delivers a powerhouse show at Soldier Field

Beyoncé is the wave of the future. His Renaissance World Tour proved as much as it did dropping at Soldier Field Saturday night for the first of two sold-out weekend shows. The two-and-a-half-hour extravaganza is pure escapism into an otherworldly existence, perhaps the closest we mere mortals have come to going to the moon.

Replete with the singer’s evolving progressive music, tons of sci-fi realism, human-android blur lines, and plenty of cutting-edge technology that sets the standard for any stadium tour to come, the road trip is also a rebirth of the megastar himself, seven long years after his last solo tour in 2016.

Beyoncé dazzled in a gown by Schiaparelli for the opening segment of her Renaissance World Tour on night one of two at Soldier Field.


Now in her 40s and with over 100 million records sold and a record 32 Grammys, Beyoncé is closing in on the throne left vacant by Queen Tina Turner, to whom she paid a loving tribute with a cover of “River Deep, Mountain High,” asking the crowd, “Is she your hero too?”

And her star power only brightens as her music continues to evolve, from its former themes of love and sexuality to platforms of self-empowerment, race and Black experiences, feminism, and — with her latest album — queer celebration. Disco-fueled “Renaissance,” his seventh No. 1 album. The record-breaking 1, released almost a year ago to today, is dedicated to his inspirational gay Uncle Johnny, whom he pays tribute to several times during the night, most notably on the blistering “HEATED”.

After an hour-long rain delay that pushed the start of the extravaganza to 9 p.m. and threatened the disintegration of the incredible costume, make-up, and hair that so many devoted fans had worked on, Beyoncé finally emerged, climbing onto the stage from beneath the stage and eliciting ear-piercing screams with her first few words, “Chicago, I love you.” (Sentiment echoes the announcement minutes earlier that Queen Bey is giving away $100,000 to several small black-owned businesses in Chicago through her BeyGOOD foundation.)

Beyoncé triumphantly stopped the rain in Chicago tonight with her second strong show at The Windy City.  The rain ended just as he took the stage with nearly 48,000 fans roaring to show their appreciation for him.

Rain gave way to clear skies over Chicago on Saturday night allowing for the first of Beyoncé’s two weekend concerts at Soldier Field.

Image copyright RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR/Kevin Mazur

Split into seven stylized segments, the show walks through every song on the new album, complete with dazzling high-fashion costumes, and set changes that literally make the crew member’s village go round.

The first piece, “Opening Act” (yes, she is the opener herself) is Beyoncé at her most refined, dressed in a feather-embellished ball gown and seated on a silver piano as she sings R&B numbers from early in her career, including the Destiny’s Child hits “Dangerously in Love” and “Flaws and All” (from the 2006 album “B’Day”).

“Opening Act” is also one of the few parts where Beyoncé addresses the audience directly, noting the efforts they make to pay homage to the Queen’s style. “How do you all look so good? You look like you planned your outfit months ago. I bet you woke up at 8 to get ready,” she told legionnaires in a rhinestone cowboy hat, glitter dress, and matching unitard that the singer has debuted on tour.

While the show is an excellent theatrical performance, Beyoncé has never let her powerful voice be overlooked, demonstrating that she still has one of the best pipe sets in the business.

As the night progressed, so did the incredible energy and choreography, as well as thematic exploration, revolving mostly around sci-fi, Afrofuturism, and metamorphosis – doses of “Metropolis” meets “Ex Machina”.

Beyoncé put on an extraordinary show filled with high-tech magic, talented backup dancers, and stunning costumes Saturday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Beyoncé put on an extraordinary show filled with high-tech magic, talented backup dancers, and stunning costumes Saturday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Image copyright RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR/Kevin Mazur

At the start of the “Renaissance” segment, she broke out of her metallic costume shell to perform “I’M THAT GIRL”. For “BLACK PARADE” (part of the “Glitz”) section, he rode a chrome military tank onto the stage catwalk, finishing the song with his eyes closed, fists raised in the air in a sign of Black pride as many in the audience did the same. (This is generally the part where Beyoncé’s star child, Blue Ivy Carter, appears, although she is noticeably absent tonight.)

During the “Motherboard” segment, Beyoncé pays homage to Chicago house music (and later choreographs to do the same).

In “Church Girl” (during the “Anointed” segment), Beyoncé and her backup vocals wear monochrome dresses that completely change color, with robotic arms that paint them to look like stained glass.

Beyoncé performed Saturday night at Soldier Field.

Beyoncé performed Saturday night at Soldier Field.

Image copyright RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR/Mason Poole

It’s just one of the ways high-tech has become a full-fledged supporting character in the show, despite the massive video walls, drone cameras, and fish-eye lenses that make the entire night look like the Super Bowl Halftime Show in the Chicago Bears’ home turf. Its gravity-defying dancers and wildly talented backup singers and house band (guitars, drums, keys, bass, and full horn section) earn their due in special solos during set change breaks as a giant disco ball hangs overhead, giving off a Studio 54 vibe.

As the show concluded with Beyoncé hooked up to a high wire and effortlessly gliding over the audience, she had one last virtuous message to convey: “I hope you feel inspired, seen, and loved, and I hope you take that love with you wherever you go.”

Beyoncé returned to Soldier Field for a second show on Sunday night. Tickets:

Queen Bey held court at Soldier Field in the first of two weekend shows in Chicago.

Queen Bey held court at Soldier Field in the first of two weekend shows in Chicago.

Image copyright RENAISSANCE WORLD TOUR/Mason Poole

Set List

Opening Act

Dangerously In Love (Destiny’s Child) Defective And All 1+1 I’m Down (Rose Royce) I CareRiver Deep, Mountain High (Ellie Greenwich)



Main Board



FormationsDivaRun The World (Girls)MY POWERBLACK PARADEsavage (Remix) (Megan Thee Stallion)Partisi


CHURCH GIRLShape My Body Before I Let Go (Maze ft. Frankie Beverly)Better To Die YoungLove AboveCrazy In Love

Pt. 2


Mind Control


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