In nearly two hours, Beyonce and her astounding cast of dancers, singers and musicians managed to put together an unparalleled collection of her biggest hits and deep cuts, combined with music from the “Dirty South” and many civil rights activists like Nina Simone. Served alongside was the visuals of historically black colleges and universities.
One year later, as the second weekend of Coachella approaches, the memory of “Beychella” looms large. No star-studded appearances (maybe Kid-Cudi bringing out Kanye West) in this years festival line up can gin up the same excitement that the Queen B did. Which is why the release of the Netflix documentary “Homecoming” on April 17, which was also accompanied by a corresponding live album, was even more of a coup.
She may have not been headlining this year, but we’re all going to pay attention and bow down anyway because Beyonce did not come to play. She came to slay.
At two hours and seventeen minutes, a good chunk of “Homecoming” is what many viewers who attended the festival last year have already seen (and perhaps re-watch their videos on their phones). But this time the performance is shown through a greater variety of angles and Instagram-like filters. Her performances from the first and second weekends (which are distinguished by the different color of costumes) were seamlessly intercut. This is particularly effective early on in the documentary when all the performer’s outfits change from all yellow (weekend one) to all pink (weekend two), just as “Crazy in Love” drops an infectious sample of Juvenile’s “ Back That Thang Up.”
Intimate and candid moments are showed in between long and uninterrupted musical segments from the mini concert. Moments like that will be enough to satisfy the Beyhive (but what Beyonce related content doesn’t satisfy the Beehive?). Montages show footage of the rehearsal process. You see what it was like for them to work with perhaps one of the biggest star in the world.
“I definitely pushed myself further than I knew I could,” Beyonce says, as we watch footage of her sweating it out profusely.“I will never, never push myself that far again,” she added, with a chuckle.
Overall “Homecoming” is about Beyonce, asserting, yet again, her power and control. “Homecoming” reinforces the ideas that Beyonce, the performer, is also Beyonce the creator. It is Beyonce as how she wants us to see her and how she has always wanted her Beyhive to see her. As a perfectionist, and as the hardest-working black woman and person in the show business. Halfway through Beyonce Knowles’ performance at Coachella last year, DJ Khaled made it known that the musical festival would no longer be known as Coachella once the Queen B was done performing. It would be known as ‘Beychella.”
This was a career-defining performance for Beyonce. She became the first black woman ever to headline Coachella since its first debut in 1999.