The BeyHive was buzzing early Wednesday evening as R&B superstar Beyoncé prepared to take the stage at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Decked out in silver sequins and cowboy boots, fans—who affectionately call themselves the BeyHive—lined up to catch the Renaissance World Tour.
For many, it was a celebration of Black and queer identity, two themes Beyoncé explored in her Renaissance album, which was dedicated to her gay uncle.
“I’m a born and raised Black girl from Texas—my parents are from H-town,” said Nisa Sanders, an Oakland resident. “This album is very representative of Black femme queerness and definitely Black femme identity. It’s an ode to that in every way.”
“When I was 6, I knew the words to every song for every album she had out,” said Sacramento resident Adrian McGilberry. “For her to celebrate queerness in its most natural form—to not shy away from it and actually play with it—it’s so amazing. It’s very loving. I felt very seen the first time I heard this album.”
Young Beyoncé fans remember listening to her music growing up and finding a safe space in her anthems.
It wasn’t the ideal weather to be waiting hours in a parking lot, however. Santa Clara temperatures reached well past 90 degrees on Wednesday afternoon and more than a few concertgoers feverishly flapped fans as they waited in line. A Spare the Air alert was issued for the wider San Francisco Bay Area—including Santa Clara—citing hazy skies and poor air quality.
Still, thousands of fans braved the blistering sun. For many, it was a chance to show off their concert 'fits. In celebration of Virgo season—the astrological zodiac sign that includes birthdays between Aug. 23 and Sept. 22—Beyoncé asked fans to wear all silver and sparkles to her concerts. The star’s birthday falls on Sept. 4.
The result was a blinding array of sequined cowboy hats, rhinestone-studded mesh jumpsuits and funky silver-chrome sunglasses.
“One word: Texas Bama. I’m born and raised in San Jose, so this is about as Texas as I can get,” said 19-year-old Liz Germain, pointing to her cowboy boots. Her companion, Venus Taradalsky, sported a silver mannequin cutout top, complete with sky-high booties.
Many fans weren’t new to the BeyHive: Perlyn Alcala, a 30-year-old Vallejo resident, has attended at least five other Beyonce shows since 2013.
“I’m definitely part of the BeyHive. I love her. I call her my mother,” Alcala joked. “I’m most excited to see ‘Cuff It’—it reminds me of my wedding, because it’s the song that played during my bouquet toss.”
Liz Lindqwister can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org