DUBAI — Fireworks burst across the sky as Beyoncé emerged on stage Saturday night belting out a rendition of the Etta James classic “At Last” for 1,000 guests at the opening of the Atlantis Royal hotel at one of the most highly talked about musical moments so far this year.
The superstar, who has not done a live performance since 2018, pulled out all the stops for her return to the stage, proving she is still on top of her game. Wearing a yellow corset-style gown framed by a giant feathered halo by Dubai-based label Atelier Zuhra, Queen Bey appeared like a rising sun against the dark night sky.
“I feel so honored to be here,” said the singer, who paid homage to the region throughout her one-hour long performance. “There’s a utopia of people from all over the world on this stage.”
Her performance was punctuated by The Mayyas, an all-female dance troupe from Lebanon and winners of “America’s Got Talent.” She was also accompanied by a 48-person, all-female orchestra from Dubai called Firdaus. Beyoncé didn’t sing any songs off of her new album “Renaissance,” but she did include hits like “XO,” “Halo,” “Freedom,” “Crazy in Love” and “Countdown.”
The concert, for which she was paid a reported $25 million, drew a lot of famous faces, including Kendall Jenner, Ellen Pompeo, Rebel Wilson and Nia Long.
For Beyoncé, the trip to Dubai, where she spent a week rehearsing, was a family affair. “My parents are here tonight to celebrate, both my mother and my father. My beautiful children are here to see their mama perform and my beautiful husband.”
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the night was her very first live duet with her 11-year-old daughter. “Where are all my brown-skin girls?” she asked, introducing the song. “Give it up for my baby, my brown-skin girl, Miss Blue Ivy Carter,” Beyoncé said as the audience screamed in delight. The budding young star and her mother held hands as she sang their Grammy-award winning “Brown Skinned Girl.” Confident in front of the crowd, Blue danced and blew kisses.
The show ended with Beyoncé raised 16 feet into the air on a narrow platform surrounded by a field of water and fire, as she sang a powerful rendition of “Drunk in Love.”
“This is my first time in Dubai and it’s meeting all the expectations,” said Pompeo, who had just arrived ahead of the performance. “My plans for the weekend are Beyoncé…and then recovering from Beyoncé,” she said with a laugh. “Taking in a performance like this is a full weekend event. It’s not just the performance, then you have to digest what she did.”