Since their idol released her seventh studio album last summer, Beyoncé's fans have eagerly awaited news of live performances. 

Having headlined Glastonbury and Coachella, former Destiny’s Child singer will have had her pick of venues when deciding to return to the stage

Unlike those memorable festival performances, this particular appearance may have dented Queen Bey’s reputation. 

Why was her first performance of 2023 big news?

Beyoncé is not your typical touring artist. Her live performances are events, containing awe-inspiring choreography, tightly-drilled bands and a back catalogue of pop classics that few of her peers can compete with. 

One of Beyoncé's SICKEST transitions!

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The Telegraph recently named her 2011 show the fifth-best in Glastonbury’s history, while her thrilling 2018 Coachella set was described as a “gobsmacking marvel” by the New York Times and spawned a documentary dedicated entirely to its creation. 

July 2022’s Renaissance album was among the most acclaimed of her career, topping several critics’ end-of-year polls, and the 41-year-old is yet to perform a note of it in public. 

What made the album so notable?

With a sound indebted to classic house music and numerous references to ballroom culture, Renaissance resonated with an LGBTQ+ audience. Upon its release, Beyoncé said: “my intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgement.”

Where did she choose to perform her first post-Renaissance concert?


A place without judgement?

Not if you’re an LGBTQ+ person, as same-sex relationships in the United Arab Emirates are illegal and punishable by imprisonment or death. In 2021, Forbes magazine ranked it in the ninth-worst place in the world for LGBTQ+ people to visit, pointing out that men can be imprisoned for up to a year for wearing ‘female apparel’. 

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How did the new Renaissance material go down in that environment?

It didn’t. Beyoncé's 17-song set at Dubai’s Atlantis The Royal featured no material from her latest record. 

How have people reacted?

While her most passionate fans - known as the ‘Beyhive’ - have lapped up footage of the event, there has been a considerable online backlash.

“Come celebrate my queer dance tribute album in a country where being queer is punishable by death” said writer Jill Krakewski on Twitter, who went on to call it: "entirely hypocritical for Beyoncé to pay homage to queer culture then do business with a place that wants queer people to die."

Referencing her choice not to perform material from Renaissance, writer Douglas Greenwood tweeted: “the question should be: why didn’t she? Could she?”

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How much was Beyoncé paid for the performance?

The 41-year-old is reported to have been paid £19.4 million for the 95-minute show. 

Does she need that money?

Times are hard, and that £19.4 million could make the world of difference to someone with a reported net worth of just £404 million.