What to know before you go to one of Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ shows

'Tis the season of Beyoncé's "Renaissance" tour! Here's what you need to know about the tour before it hits the US.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ParkwoodCNN — 

‘Tis the season of Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour! Here’s what you need to know about the tour before it hits the US.

If you’re one of the lucky members of the BeyHive who scored tickets to Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour this summer, expect one of the more epic nights of your life.

The theme is Afrofuturist disco fantasia, so dress accordingly. Onstage, there are massive robot arms that transform Beyoncé’s wardrobe mid-number; don’t be alarmed when they start flying. Bey will expect you, the audience member, to know all the words to all of the nearly 40 songs on her set list, and if you’re off-key, she’ll let you know with a grimace.

Fans have been waiting for this tour since last summer, and it’s finally time to unleash our inner alien superstars. Here’s what “Renaissance” tour-goers need to know before the show hits their hometown (or, before they fly across the world to catch it – the things we do for Beyoncé).

Dress code is: Disco alien realness

Yes, that is Beyoncé on a fake horse.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Yes, that is Beyoncé on a fake horse.

The aesthetic of the “Renaissance” tour, based on the footage fans have captured, is more “Alien Superstar” than “Cuff It”: Think Afrofuturist cyborgs with impeccable style. But there are moments where Houston-meets-Studio 54, to be sure, including a life-size sparkling silver horse, similar to the steed Bey straddles on the cover of “Renaissance,” on which Beyoncé sits suspended in mid-air. So yes, crystal-dripping cowboy hats are more than welcome.

The show is epic – and long

Tour? More like a tour de force spanning Beyoncé's entire career and latest critical smash.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Tour? More like a tour de force spanning Beyoncé’s entire career and latest critical smash.

Get a good night’s sleep before you show up to Club “Renaissance” – per the New York Times, Bey’s first show in Stockholm was a whopping three hours. But then again, how else do you expect to pack 20 years of a solo career and an album of all-timers into one show, not to mention the many iconic fashion moments? Seriously, every fan video seems to show Bey in yet another getup. The sheer number of costume changes alone justify its three-hour runtime. Among them: A Mugler yellow-and-black bee mask for “America Has a Problem,” a bedazzled Loewe jumpsuit covered in criss-crossing black, red-nailed gloves and a certain UV-light activated coat that left fans slack-jawed.

As for the setlist, prepare for pretty much all of “Renaissance,” plus timeless classics like “Love on Top” and “Run the World (Girls).”

Prepare for the robot invasion

Well, prepare for the two giant robot arms that swivel and swerve around Bey throughout a particularly sci-fi inspired segment of the show. The arms frame her face like a portrait, wave fans like they’re sweating in a basement bar and even, per some fan footage, change the color of her dress. The robots have, so far, not gone rogue, but few dare to defy Beyoncé.

Bey can hear you

Don't disappoint Beyoncé with subpar singing: If she points the mic toward you, be prepared.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Parkwood

Don’t disappoint Beyoncé with subpar singing: If she points the mic toward you, be prepared.

Queen B can hear her audience hooting and hollering and failing to hit the high notes in “Love on Top.” On at least one stop of the tour, she turned the mic to her fans and was visibly displeased at their flatness, according to footage shared online. And since the entire audience sings in unison, Beyoncé can hear if you flub the lyrics. So if Bey hands the mic to you, dear reader, and it’s your turn to perform, come prepared.

Oh, and about those album visuals … Bey knows we’ve complained about those, too (seriously, though, where are they?!), and she lets those in the audience know that a “queen moves at her own pace.” We’ll have to keep waiting on those music videos.

Know your ballroom

So much of the “Renaissance” album was inspired by or directly references New York City ballroom culture of the 1980s and ’90s, pioneered by Black and Latino queer and trans people. Bey incorporates those touchstones into her show, too.

Honey Balenciaga, a member of the ballroom collective House of Balenciaga, dances alongside Beyoncé and, along with the rest of Bey’s cast of dancers, vogues like a pro. There’s no “noguing” allowed on the “Renaissance” tour – “noguing” is the term for amateur attempts at voguing by those who haven’t studied the artform (coined by the ballroom legend Leiomy Maldonado, who’s given the album her stamp of approval).

She even gives her crowd a taste of the ball scene: One showstopping moment sees Bey cede the stage to her dancers, dressed in designer duds, dipping and dropping and spinning on their sides to the roars of the crowd.

And the night ends with an homage to her late “Uncle Jonny,” the beloved family member she namedrops in “Heated” and to whom she dedicated “Renaissance.” (She said he was her “godmother and the first person to expose (her) to a lot of the music and culture” that inspired the album.) As the audience files out, dizzy from the night’s magic, a photo of Beyoncè’s mother, Tina Lawson, and Jonny occupies the massive screen.