Everything That Happened During Beyoncé’s Coachella Performance
Coachella is dead. Long live Beychella! Last night, Queen Beyoncé gave her throne a temporary new location on the Coachella main stage, headlining the festival for the first time in a makeup performance from last year, which she had to cancel because of her pregnancy. As promised, it was a spectacle for the ages, including a surprise appearance from Jay-Z, a Solange dance-off, aDestiny’s Child reunion, and so much more. But for those who couldn’t stay up until the wee hours to stream her set — we understand your pain, but also can’t relate — Vulture was on the ground and has you covered. Here’s everything that went down while you were sleeping.
Destiny’s Child reunited
When all the world is watching, expect the holy trinity to assemble. As she did for her Super Bowl halftime headlining show five years ago, Beyoncé reunited Destiny’s Child at Coachella. Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams joined Bey for a three-song medley, including “Lose My Breath,” “Say My Name,” and “Soldier.” Set your alarms for another half a decade before it likely happens again.
Beyoncé and Solange had a dance-off
It was a sister act at this year’s Coachella, and we’re not talking Haim (who technically did open for Bey). Despite having a backing crew of 100 dancers, Beyoncé had room for one more: Solange. Her sister joined Bey for a dance-off during the extended version of “Get Me Bodied” to show them how it’s done.
Jay-Z showed up
At this point, it’s not a question of whether Beyoncé and Jay-Z will duet at any major event, but rather which song will they do? Ahead of their On the Run Tour sequel, the two gave fans a taste of what to expect: Jay-Z surprised the crowd to perform “Deja Vu” with his incredibly gracious wife.
She performed with an HBCU marching band
Beyoncé’s Coachella theme was re-creating the historically black college experience, which cannot authentically exist without a marching band. She performed with a 200-person band (all of whom performed on a set designed to resemble bleachers at a homecoming rally), formed a drum line, including a majorette, and hit the steps like she graduated from Spelman.
Black Greek Life was a major inspiration
Beyoncé University is real and it has its own Divine Nine: Introducing Beyoncé Delta Knowles (or Beta Delta Kappa) Fraternity Incorporated, established in 2018. And it already has its founding members, a spring line of nine men (aptly named her “Bug a Boos”) who had to prove their worth before the queen herself before crossing. Beyoncé’s entire Coachella set was indeed an elaborate probate, step show, and homecoming all wrapped up in one. Class is now in session — just sign us up for enrollment, take our money, and please, please, please let us be your pledges.
There were blink-and-you-miss-it covers
It’s not a Beyoncé performance without a nod to the music that shaped her life and musical DNA. Last night, she covered Dawn Penn’s “You Don’t Love Me”; Nina Simone’s “Lilac Wine” (she also played a snippet of “Strange Fruit”); and had her band incorporate Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up,” “Swag Surfin’,” “Getting to the Money,” Fela Kuti’s “Zombie” and many more into multiple songs for various mash-ups.
She sang the Black National Anthem
Given Beyoncé at Coachella was the equivalent of the Super Bowl, it required the singing of our National Anthem at kick-off — the “our” in this particular situation being black people. Beyoncé made history as the first black woman to ever headline Coachella (“ain’t that ‘bout a bitch,” she scolded the festival on its own stage). To make it official, she sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — known traditionally as the Black National Anthem — mixing it with her own song “Freedom.”
She brought back Les Twins
It’s not a Beyoncé performance without her two favorite dancers, French pair Les Twins (actual twins, Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois), whom Bey brought back to her show at Coachella (because now that she’s had twins of her own, what’s a couple more?).
There were throwbacks galore
Beyoncé’s performance might just be the greatest hits set to end all greatest hits sets. But beyond the hits — some stretching as far back as “Me Myself & I” — she showed love for the deeper areas of her discography, too, dusting off some beloved tracks she seldomly performs (“Kitty Kat,” “I Care,” “Check On It,” “Ego,” “Get Me Bodied”).
Rihanna and Adele were big fans
Beyoncé can make a stan out of even the biggest celebrities in the world, and Rihanna and Adele are no exception. Rih watched the whole show with a front-row seat at the festival and bopped along accordingly. Meanwhile, Adele, noted de facto leader of the Beyhive, had her own front-row seat from home, sharing videos on Instagram of herself losing her mind to Bey in front of the TV, just like you.
DJ Khaled renamed the festival Beychella
During an intermission, DJ Khaled, Beyoncé’s former tour opener, boomed over the festival speakers with a public decree: “Coachella gotta rename Coachella the Beychella. New name alert.” We expect all signs and merch to be adjusted accordingly by day three.