When Beyoncé strolled onto Coachella’s desert stage like a drum major on the night of April 16, no one was prepared for the spectacle that was to come. There was, of course, the sheer magnitude of it: She wore a cape and crown of painstaking detail, bedazzled by Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, referencing the ageless black regality of Nefertiti and Michael Jackson. Dozens of monochromatically clad dancers joined Bey, along with a drumline with sousaphone and trombone players. It was an ocean of sound and color against the backdrop of bleachers. “‘Let’s do a homecoming,” she reportedly told her choreographers in early rehearsals.

Perhaps we should’ve been ready. Beyoncé, known for rigorous stagecraft, always promises a spectacle. She’s a pop star who sings soul, although she hasn’t ever tried to be earthy or minimalist like Erykah Badu or Jill Scott, two artists whose work I can tell she pays…

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