On Saturday night, January 21, Beyoncé performed during the grand reveal of Atlantis the Royal, a new luxury resort in Dubai. The hourlong concert—marking Beyoncé’s first live performance since 2020—was attended by over 1,000 people, including celebrities and “special guests,” as noted in a press release. Beyoncé opened her first set with a cover of Etta James’ “At Last” and performed tracks from across her catalog, though none off of her latest album, Renaissance. Beyoncé last performed live during a tribute for Kobe and Gianna Bryant in February, 2020. At the 2022 Oscars, she aired a pre-taped performance of her King Richard song, “Be Alive.”
Beyoncé was accompanied by Firdaus, a 48-person all-female orchestra, as well as Lebanese dance troupe the Mayyas. According to reports from TMZ and The Hollywood Reporter, the singer’s daughter Blue Ivy appeared onstage to sing alongside Beyoncé during “Brown Skin Girl.” Jay-Z, Beyoncé’s parents, and singers Chloe x Halle were also in attendance at the event, per press materials. Swedish House Mafia DJ’d the event’s afterparty. Last week, TMZ speculated that Beyoncé was paid $24 million for the event.
Pitchfork received an invitation to the hotel unveiling, along with several journalists, celebrities, and influencers. “Beyoncé invites you to a weekend where your dreams become your destination,” the invite read, teasing a “once in a lifetime performance” (though the performer was not named outright). The amenities listed were “epicurean feasts, beachside indulgences, and special reveal experiences including business class airfare, first-class ground transportation, and first-class accommodations at Atlantis the Royal.”
Beyoncé last performed in the United Arab Emirates in 2009 (in its capital, Abu Dhabi). Since then, artists like Jay-Z, Blur, Stormzy, and the Killers have also performed in the UAE, despite growing concerns with the country’s laws against homosexuality, which is categorized as a crime theoretically punishable by death, per the UAE’s constitution.