I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the greatest performance of all time has now occurred, and during your lifetime to boot! The bad news is you probably weren’t there. I mean, I wasn’t either. I’m just going by the tweets, reviews, and videos proliferating online Sunday.
As if it weren’t already confirmed that Beyoncé is a literal goddess (it was), the deity made history at Coachella on Saturday night with a 26-song set that featured hubby Jay-Z, sister Solange, and former groupmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams in a much-anticipated Destiny’s Child reunion. (Honestly, I don’t think we can handle this.) The two-hour performance—which opened with Queen Bey channeling Cleopatra in a long, black-and-gold Balmain cape—also featured a full marching band, dozens of backup dancers, a cherry picker, Malcolm X quotes, a Nina Simone tribute, an a capella chanting of “suck on my balls” (from “Sorry”), and predictably high-intensity choreography. And, you know, this voice.
Chance the Rapper tweeted that it was simply “the greatest show to ever happen,” while Adam Lambert wrote that it “makes one want to just forget everything they knew about live performance, sit down, and take notes…. and weep openly.” It appears to have broken Adele.
Beyoncé is the first black woman to headline Coachella, but as DJ Khaled pointed out, it won’t be known by that title for long, especially now that Beyoncé has used it as a vehicle to put on the greatest show that has ever or will ever exist. “After tonight, Coachella gotta rename Coachella the Beychella,” he said during her set. (Hey, let’s rename Beymerica while we’re at it). Queen B was originally set to headline last year’s festival, but was forced to pull out while pregnant with twins Rumi and Sir. In retrospect, one year wasn’t so long to wait for what was—probably—history’s most amazing performance. Is it possible to be too hyperbolic when talking about Beyoncé? Surely not. The Guardian declared that Beyoncé had written herself into history, while Jon Caramanica wrote in his New York Times review that “Beyoncé is performing musicology in real time … History is her stage.” Chris Willman at Variety doubted whether even Michael Jackson himself could have pulled it off.
You can catch the GOAT at intermittent intervals on the Coachella YouTube channel, but surely it’s only a matter of time before we all possess a recording of this history-making, life-changing, world-defining performance. Long may she reign.