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  • Writer's pictureAlta's Oyster

My UNIQUE Renaissance Concert Experience

The Renaissance concert gave me life, as I expected.

A Black woman standing in FedField stadium. Wearing a silver corset and black leather pants. An empty stage is in the background.
Waiting for the Renaissance, before the rain

This has been a year, and we're only a little more than halfway through! I went through my videos to pull the one of me, Janine, and Jennifer singing Energy at the concert to execute the everybody on mute challenge, and I had a big 'ol smile on my face while watching. I had so much fun at the concert. But first, let's rewind.

Back in January (or was it December 2022?), I decided that I would attend my first concert this year. Nope, I had never been to a concert before. I'd never had the chance, never really had the money to spend on concert tickets, and it's never been a priority of mine.

At the start of this year, ads for Janet Jackson's tour popped up on my Facebook feed, and I decided to finally make time. I decided that when I returned from my upcoming birthday trip to Thailand, I would buy a ticket to see Janet in the summer. I love Janet, and I've always heard that people have a time at her concerts.

Plus, when I was younger, I really wanted to see Michael Jackson in concert. Michael was the first celebrity I ever idolized; the first celebrity I was ever aware of. When I lived in Haiti, we had a copy of his Live in Bucharest (The Dangerous Tour) concert on VHS, and I wore it out. I must have been seven or eight, but I was taken by his voice, and the way he moved. As I grew up, I hoped to see him in concert one day. And then he passed in 2005.

Michael and Janet are not interchangeable, but I did think it was cool that my first concert would still be a legendary Jackson. Then, February 1st happened. Beyoncé kicked off Black History Month with an announcement of the upcoming Renaissance World Tour.

The Janet plans immediately flew out the window. I feverishly messaged Janine and Jennifer in the group chat like y'all in? The answer was yes, and the three of us signed up for the Verified Fan Registration that day and set our calendars. We were gunning for either Washington, D.C. or Miami, FL. On February 5th, I received an email that I was selected for the presale scheduled for February 6th at 4:00pm. Girl, I put that on my calendar and set an alarm for the next day at 3:00pm. Janine got the same message. My excitement was growing!

On February 6th, I WAS SAT AND READY! My eyes were glued to the time, though I made sure to use the bathroom before 3:30pm. I logged in thirty minutes early, because I didn't know what I was in for. Tiktok and Twitter had been buzzing about Taylor Swift fans getting screwed. I just prayed that my fingers would be fast enough to find three seats.

The countdown to be let into the room started, and Janine and I were sending screenshots to the group chat, and Jennifer was on the edge of her seat. I don't remember what happened that prevented her from getting in the room as well, but I was having fun already, and we were nowhere near the date of the concert. The tension skyrocketed when Janine got kicked out of the lobby and had to log back in. Of course, she lost her place in the damn queue, so I got real nervous like Lord, do not let that happen to me!

And then I was in, and it was go time! My stomach was all knots! I don't remember if we looked at the layout of FedEx Field Stadium before February 6th, while I was trying to choose seats, or after we bought the tickets, but I pulled Janine and Jennifer into a FaceTime call, and we (quickly!) explored our options and ultimately decided to buy seats in Section 430. Whew!

And then life went on. We went to Italy for Jen's birthday, came back and resettled into our lives, and was time to plan for the concert. Purchasing flights, booking the hotel, figuring out our outfits, accessories, and hair. The everybody on mute competition between cities and concert dates was spreading like wildfire. The excitement was back, and it was flourishing. As we entered mid-July, we started talking about content creation and TikTok transitions.

It was all so fun, and I gotta say: I love a theme. Love it! It started with Black Panther, when Black Internet decided we would show out in African print at the theaters. And on February 2018, Jennifer and I showed out!

But back to Renaissance. I had an ungodly early flight out of Denver. I'm talking up at 1:30am for a 5:10am flight or something crazy like that. I don't remember when the 5:10am flight actually left, because I didn't get on it, because of course something went awry. We boarded, then we were told something mechanical was wrong, and they needed to fix it, then we needed to deplane while they fixed it, because they didn't know how long it would take.

They didn't know how long it would take to fix the plane, and I had a connecting flight in Wisconsin! Very soon, the gate agent came to talk to me directly. If it looked like I was going to miss my connecting flight, they'd book me on another flight. Not fifteen minutes later, they had to book me on another flight with a connection in Missouri. The new flight was living at 7:10am, and my checked bag may or may not be moved from the original plane in time.

Was I worried? Nah. I was chillin. Because everything I needed for the concert was in my carry on. I didn't give them a chance to break my soul, y'all. Can you imagine the alternate universe where everything I needed was in the checked bag? Imagine the despair! Imagine me slumped at the gate, my chest hollow with regret! Whew!

But past me looked out for future me, and that heavy behind carry on was digging in my shoulder, filled with the clothes, accessories, makeup, boots, and the fan. I also had toiletries and clothes for one day. I was chillin. When I landed in DC, I found out that my checked bag went to Nashville. I don't know when Tennessee entered the conversation, but I got my bag back that evening, and I got a voucher from Southwest for choosing to pick up my bag at the airport instead of making them deliver it. Amen.

Three Black women smiling in a group selfie taken in a hotel bathroom. They're dressed up for a concert.
Ready to head out! From left to right: me, Jennifer, and Janine

A Black woman with natural hair pulled up in a high bun stands outside of FedEx Field. The stadium is in the background. She's wearing a silver corset, black leather pants, and is holding an open opera fan with the words Heated written in red.
Fan me off like hot, hot, hot (like Coco Chanel, put me up in jail)

When I woke up the day of the concert, I was in a sleep deficit, but I was invigorated. It was Bey day! We shot the content, did the makeup, got dressed, lowkey stressed, and then we were ready! It is not, ahem, uncommon for the three of us to run late, but we'd scheduled an Uber, and we treated it like a flight. We were ready ten minutes before the Uber was scheduled to arrive, and when Jennifer checked to see where buddy was, turns out he was early, too. We got to FedEx Field around 5:00pm. I'm telling you: stress was not invited to this event.

We bought mech and tried to upgrade our seats but no luck. The concert was sold out. The DC humidity got to me, and I sweated buckets before we made it to our seats. It was so bad that Janine and Jennifer had to grab napkins to help me blot the sweat. I was burning up. I told them I must've been made in hell, because I run hot so easily.

I cooled down once we were in our seats. The breeze was welcomed. The rain was not. Did y'all hear about the rain? Before the rain, there was lightening in the area. We were herded out of the open-air stadium and into the building, where we waited for almost an hour, during which time it started pouring outside. And it went on, and on, and on, for so long that I began to genuinely worry that Beyoncé would cancel. Imagine if I flew to see Beyoncé only for Beyoncé to tell me to go home, because the weather was acting up! Chest pains, tbh. That rain had me so salty that I started hoping it rained down for the Miami show. How's it gonna pour in DC and Miami gets a dry show? I was pre-upset.

But Beyoncé didn't cancel. We were eventually herded back to our seats, where the rain played with us some more. We sat down, it started drizzling hard, so the three of us got up and went under the covered area until it stopped. And then we sat down, and it started drizzling hard, so we got up and went under the covered area until it stopped. Then we sat down, and it started drizzling hard...I must've wiped my seat five times before we decided to just stand under the covered area until we heard Beyoncé.

And then we heard Beyoncé. "DC, I love you." Aaahhh!

When she popped out of the floor, the yell I yelled was unhinged. I was not prepared for that to come out of me. As the night went on, I thought I'd lose my voice the next day. I wanted to lose my voice. I sang, and screamed, and danced, and I felt sooo good. I sang with Beyoncé in the rain. Because it didn't stop raining until maybe twenty minutes into the concert. Maybe thirty.

But it was a lovely night, and my section did the damn thing with the everybody on mute challenge. Can't say the same for the whole stadium, but Beyoncé said we won the challenge. I recently heard she told Atlanta the same thing. I'll leave that alone.

When I listened to The Read, Kid Fury and Crissle always drilled into us that, when it comes to Beyoncé, stay ready so you ain't gotta get ready. That's gonna be me from now on. Imma stay ready, because I want to be present for Bey's future concerts.

Renaissance is a trilogy project, so, babes, I'll see you for Act II.


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