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Beyoncé performed her first live show in more than four years, singing tunes she rarely does onstage and duetting with daughter Blue Ivy Carter.
The Grammy-winning star gave a nearly 75-minute performance Saturday in Dubai to help launch the city’s new luxurious and opulent hotel, The Atlantis Royal. Attendees at the invite-only event included her husband Jay-Z, parents Tina Knowles-Lawson and Mathew Knowles and her three children, as well as celebrity guests, influencers and business people tied to the hotel.
“My beautiful children are here to see their mom perform,” Beyoncé told the audience.
Blue Ivy, 11, received loud applause from the crowd as she entered the stage to open with the song “Brown Skin Girl,” her collaboration with her mother that won both of them a Grammy Award in 2021.
“Where are all my brown skin girls? Give it up for my baby, my brown skin girl, Miss Blue Ivy Carter,” Beyoncé said.
Blue Ivy — who made a cameo during her mom’s performance at last year’s Academy Awards — wore a red suit and sneakers, and her mom touched her face as she sang the track that celebrates dark- and brown-skinned women. They also performed some choreography together.
“Love to all the brown skin girls. If you love brown skin women, help me sing,” Beyoncé said.
In a feathery, bright yellow ensemble, Beyoncé kicked off the concert singing her version of Etta James’ “At Last,” which she famously covered in 2008 when she played James in Cadillac Records. Beyoncé also sang the classic song during Barack Obama’s first dance with Michelle Obama on the night of his inauguration in 2009.
“Welcome, everybody. I feel so honored to be here,” she told attendees, who were not allowed to record video or take photos of the concert.
Beyoncé didn’t perform any tunes from her latest album, Renaissance, but she did sing numbers she hasn’t performed in a long time, including “Beautiful Liar,” “I Care,” “Ave Marie” and “Flaws and All.” She gave a mostly soft, acoustic-styled set throughout the concert.
The singer performed alongside a full band, several background dancers and the 48-person all-female orchestra Firdaus — all donning bright red. The Mayyas, the all-female, Lebanese precision dance group who won America’s Got Talent last year, also performed and wowed the audience. And fireworks burst in the sky and from the sides of the luxury hotel.
But Beyoncé also brought the energy.
After returning for her third ensemble — this time in a tight red dress and long red stockings — she emerged to sing “Crazy In Love,” starting with the slowed-down, remixed version of the hit. But then Sasha Fierce kicked in and Beyoncé, the dancer, was alive. She went on to entice the audience with upbeat tracks like “Countdown” and “Naughty Girl,” and danced in the water while singing the hit “Drunk In Love.” She ended the concert with the anthem as she rose into the air while a firework show went on.
Beyoncé also performed “Halo,” “XO,” “Be Alive,” “Freedom,” “Spirit” and “Bigger.” She mixed in some of Camp Lo’s ’90s hit “Luchini AKA This Is It” with “Flaws and All,” and on “Naughty Girl” she wove in some of British-Indian musician Panjabi MC’s 2000s hit “Mundian To Bach Ke,” which ignited the audience (Jay-Z appeared on the remix, helping make the song popular in the States).
“Where are my naughty girls at?” she asked the crowd.
Beyoncé also got a loud roar after shaking her hips to her Shakira-featured song, “Beautiful Liar.” The singer wore designs by Atelier Zuhra from Dubai, Nicolas Jebran of Lebanon, Frolov from Ukraine and Dolce and Gabbana. The designs for the orchestra and background singers, which were sewn by local tailors from Dubai, were created by Tim White and the singer’s mother, Tina Knowles Lawson. Veteran choreographer Fatima Robinson worked on the live show.
The private concert has had the city of Dubai buzzing for months — and social media blew up this week with various rumors about Beyoncé performing in the city. Guest attendees included Kendall Jenner, Rebel Wilson, Ellen Pompeo, Winston Duke, Letitia Wright, Liam Payne, Chloe x Halle, Bar Refaeli and Swedish House Mafia, who performed at the hotel after Beyoncé.
Beyoncé last performed live in December 2018. Her Dubai concert comes two weeks before the 2023 Grammy Awards, where she is nominated for nine honors and can set a record by becoming the most decorated Grammy winner of all time.
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