This year the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has a new nickname: Beychella.
Beyonce became the first black woman to headline Coachella in a breathtaking set that featured her best material from a staggering back catalogue… and set a near-impossible standard for every headliner that will follow her.
Appearing at the festival in Indio, California, Beyonce performed one incredible dance routine after another – those rumoured 10 hour a day rehearsals ahead of the show certainly paid off, as she didn’t put a foot wrong.
The singer opened her long-anticipated performance with a marching band version of her hit “Crazy in Love,” and later crooned a rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the black national anthem.
Beginning with her 2003 debut solo single, “Crazy in Love”, she then transitioned into “Freedom”, “Formation” and “Sorry” from her 2016 visual album Lemonade. During “Sorry,” she mixed in verses from two fan favourites: “Me, Myself and I” and “Kitty Kat”.
She returned to the stage after a sultry rendition of “Drunk In Love” for tracks including “Diva” “Flawless” and “7/11”. DJ Khaled’s voice was heard on the speakers at one point to announce: “After tonight, Coachella gotta rename Coachella the Beychella. New name alert: Beychella!” Beychella became the top trend on Twitter for the rest of the performance.
On Twitter, the mood was fairly unanimous:
[insert popstar name] “2019, I’m headlining Coa-“ #Beychella pic.twitter.com/366x0buRI7
— Clardi B (@claraamfo) April 15, 2018
Me after watching this show #BEYCHELLA pic.twitter.com/wamzvIxBrA
— Odein. (@RosoParks) April 15, 2018
And now a moment of silence for the other two artists who had to perform on the other stages at the same time as Beyoncé… #Beychella
— Travon Free (@Travon) April 15, 2018
beyoncé performed for 2 hours straight with full choreo, looks, and sang the entire thing live in PERFECT PITCH. she is the greatest performer of all time, there is literally not one person that can argue otherwise #Beychella
— Dylan (@scholaurship) April 15, 2018
THE QUEEN. 👑 #Beychella #Coachella pic.twitter.com/CcxHaQ7eaf
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@Bey___Legion) April 15, 2018
The superstar was scheduled to headline last year’s festival, but canceled under doctor’s orders because she was pregnant with twins at the time. Lady Gaga stepped in as her replacement.
She and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, welcomed Rumi and Sir Carter last June.
Beyoncé’s fans, known as the BeyHive, have waited to see her perform since last year’s Grammy Awards.
This also marks Bey’s first performance since the 2017 Grammy Awards and her first concert set since late 2016.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who represents Beyonce’s hometown of Houston, congratulated the singer.
“Houston’s own Beyonce is giving us the dream performance at the 2018 Coachella! I am very proud of the artist, entertainer and global philanthropist Beyonce has become … ,” she tweeted.
Houston’s own @Beyonce is giving us the dream performance at the 2018 @coachella! I am very proud of the artist, entertainer, and global philanthropist Beyonce has become… #HoustonStrong #HoustonProud #Coachella #beychella #beyonce #BeyHive #HBCU pic.twitter.com/MfqE9RHrqR
— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) April 15, 2018
Shortly before Saturday’s performance, the singer said she can’t wait to see her fans and posted a photo from backstage on Instagram. “I am so excited to see the BeyHive tonight at Coachella. We have been working hard and have a special show planned for you so please be safe and stay hydrated,” she wrote on Facebook. “We need your energy!”
Beyoncé and Jay-Z will kick off their joint tour this summer.
Husband Jay Z joined her for a rendition of “Deja Vu” ahead of their On The Run 2 tour, making sure the spotlight was focused on his wife with a no-frills rap cameo, while Destiny’s Child reunited in an incredible moment, for a flawless renditions of “Lose My Breath”, “Say My Name” and “Soldier”. Her sister Solange joined her for a dance on stage, then Beyonce took to the runway for “Single Ladies” where she and two backing dances performed the famous routines. “Who Run The World (Girls)” was a powerful salute to feminism where Beyonce shouted out to every woman present and thanked those who had paved the way before her.
Pausing for a moment ahead of the show’s conclusion, apparently having barely broken a sweat, she addressed the crowds: “I was supposed to perform last year but I got pregnant, thank God,” she said. “I had time to dream with two beautiful souls in my belly and this is everything and more I had in my dream, so thank you for sharing this with me. I want to sing this last song to all my incredible, beautiful fans. Loyal fans. Ride or dies. I love y’all.”
Closing with an a capella “Love On Top” the stage was filled with her band and a troupe of dancers who played her out to an instrumental of “Shining”, everyone was left wondering, really, if it wasn’t worth ending the festival right as she walked off stage. No one was going to top that.