Was Beyonce Actually Paid $35 Million To Open Atlantis The Royal In Dubai?
— Updated on 31 January 2023

Was Beyonce Actually Paid $35 Million To Open Atlantis The Royal In Dubai?

— Updated on 31 January 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Did Beyonce really get paid $35,000,000 (US$24 million) for a genuinely mind-blowing 75-minute performance at the “Grand Opening Weekend” of the new Atlantis The Royal in Dubai? According to BH’s ear on the ground – that is, me – the answer is no. The answer also seems to be that many reporters don’t really care about foreign exchange rates.


Atlantis The Royal – Inside The World’s Biggest Hotel Opening

A massive fireworks display opened after Beyonce’s performance (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal)

When Dubai’s famous Atlantis the Palm held its grand opening in 2008, the event was widely touted as the most extravagant hotel opening of all time with various celebrity guests like Robert De Niro, Michael Jordan, and Charlize Theron, as well as a performance from Kylie Minogue. Over a decade later, Atlantis had to think bigger for its latest project.

How Much Did Atlantis The Royal Pay Beyonce?

Beyonce at Atlantis The Royal Grand Opening (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal)

The biggest news on the internet over the past weekend has been that none other than Beyonce was paid $24 million for a full performance on Saturday, January 21 on the newly-minted grounds of Atlantis the Royal.

A private concert, by the way, and one that was only directly witnessed by around 1,000 guests made up of big-name celebrities like Kendall Jenner, JAY-Z, Ronan Keating and Beyonce’s very talented sister, Solange – as well journalists, VIP guests and social media personalities from all over the world.

The figure most publications are going with is $24 million, with no currency specified. If that’s USD, then Beyonce was paid AU$34.3 million for a 60-minute concert. If AED, then the figure is more like AU$9.3 million. And while that’s a bit easier to understand, I’ve been told by multiple people throughout the weekend that whoever pulled out $24 million is simply wrong.

And yet, there’s been no disclosure of how much the most powerful musician in the world was actually paid.

But I don’t want to actually guess. Because regardless of the correct figure, it must have been a sizeable amount considering the kind of performance we got.

Inside Beyonce’s Dubai Concert At Atlantis The Royal

The extravagant stage set up for Beyonce (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Atlantis The Royal)

I started out in the industry as a music journalist and have seen just about everyone of note live at least twice. Live music means a great deal to me and I’m prone to getting a bit too excited when I talk about the best concerts I’ve ever seen. But there’s no exaggeration here. The Beyonce concert in Dubai was easily the best live performance that I’ve seen in my life.

Fans wouldn’t be surprised. The Beyonce Netflix documentary, 2019’s Homecoming, went into tight detail about just how much effort “Queen B” puts into each and every one of her performances. Even if you aren’t a fan, it’s hard not to be thoroughly impressed by the Texas-born musician’s gusto and absolute dedication to her craft.

And after seeing her live for the second time, albeit in a much different context – a private Beyonce concert is brag-worthy no matter how you slice it. I’m confident in stating that she is the single greatest performer of our time.

The multi-disciplinary concert pulled on elements of Italian Rennaisance art – the background was a large-scale three-dimensional reinterpretation of Raphael’s “The School of Athens” with a large avant-garde sun in the centre – as well as ballet, Middle Eastern dance, opera and just some good ol’ contemporary R&B.

It was the most complex stage show Beyonce has put on to date, with plenty of symbolism that’ll no doubt be picked apart on the Beyonce subreddit over the next couple of days.

While not a single note of her latest album, Renaissance, was to be heard throughout the almost 75-minute performance, Beyonce performed a string of her greatest hits, many reinterpreted to suit the 48-person all-female orchestra, Firdaus, that accompanied her on stage along with her dancers – a contingent dressed in outrageously beautiful costumes from bright red sequinned suits and Victorian-era petticoats to baroque gold face masks.

Beyonce herself had a total of three outfit changes throughout the set, ranging from a lucite headpiece and a feathery bright lemon-yellow dress with fluttering wings to mimic the sun – the work of Omani designer Rayan Al Sulaimani – to a pink minidress with leggings covered in crystals and fine gold from Ukrainian designer Ivan Frolov.

It’s important to point this out because the performance was as much about visuals as it was about Beyonce’s genuinely impressive vocal range.

Her commanding voice was at its best when she was turning hit ballad ‘Halo’ into an operatic masterpiece, expressing extraordinary conviction with ‘Freedom’ and closing the performance with a hypnotic, melismatic epilogue for ‘Drunk In Love.’

And yet, as epic as that all was, there was nothing more spectacular than the visuals. This was theatre taken to new heights, making Kanye West’s rare My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy stage show look like the work of an overgrown child with a crayon in his mouth. Again, I don’t even want to imagine how expensive this show was, but Atlantis The Royal chose perfectly if they wanted to mirror the sense of high-society opulence mixed with genuine artistic flair that characterises the new resort.

While Beyonce performed on the main part of the stage, with sets of stairs leading down the centre to the audience, there were levels of cascading water lit up to look like a constant stream of fireworks raining down. This helped give the stage show an ethereal quality, unlike anything I’ve seen.

The show was filled with moments that would have been special to any Beyonce fan. From the musician’s daughter, Blue Ivy, appearing to perform ‘Brown Skin Girl’ alongside her mother to the grand finale, where Beyonce walked through the crowd while singing ‘Drunk In Love’ only to be surrounded by water jets and a field of pyrotechnics while being elevated on a tiny platform and disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

What Was The Beyonce Dubai Set List Like?

For any fans reading this, here are the songs Beyonce performed in Dubai. Personal highlight ‘Freedom’ was an easy winner, as was ‘Naughty Girl’ with Punjabi MC’s ‘Mundian To Bach Ke’ (an instrumental JAY-Z once famously rapped over for ‘Beware‘) mixed in and ‘Flaws And All’ with an incredibly seamless interpolation of ‘Luchini AKA This Is It‘ by Camp Lo. Surprisingly, she showed a lot of love to The Lion King soundtrack which she curated in 2019. And she sadly overlooked a few of her best songs like ‘Formation’ and ‘Love On Top.’

Again, there was no new material, which Beyonce is clearly saving for her big Renaissance tour that’ll kick off sometime this year.

The Beyonce Dubai setlist is as follows.

  • At Last (Etta James cover)
  • XO (acoustic version)
  • Flaws and All (w/ Camp Lo ‘Luchini AKA This Is It’
  • Ave Maria
  • Halo (Operatic version)
  • Brown Skin Girl (w/ Blue Ivy)
  • Be Alive
  • Otherside
  • Bigger
  • Spirit
  • Freedom
  • I Care
  • Beautiful Liar
  • Crazy in Love (screwed & chopped version mixed with original version)
  • Countdown
  • Naughty Girl (w/ Punjabi MC ‘Mundian To Bach Ke’)
  • Drunk in Love

Between some of the songs, Beyonce was joined by renowned Lebanese dance group The Mayyas (winners of America’s Got Talent Season 17) for some truly mesmerising dance routines set to traditional Middle Eastern music, bought to life by that aforementioned orchestra and choreographer Fatima Robinson.

After Beyonce was done performing, the entire building was set off with an elaborate – and very long – fireworks display that made use of many higher-level balconies to create various patterns of pyrotechnics, contrasted with more traditional fireworks over the sea and a slick drone show.

This was followed by an after-party by Swedish House Mafia, who replaced Beyonce on the stage with a strobe-heavy light show and a very high-energy set that includes all their hits like ‘Redline,’ ‘Turn Off The Lights,’ ‘Moth To A Flame,’ and ‘Don’t You Worry Child.’ This was while free-pour Moét & Chandon Brut Imperial flooded guests well into the early morning hours along with an endless procession of canapés.

We’ll be getting up a full hotel review feature ahead of the opening date, but for now, I just wanted to provide a bit of insight into the Atlantis The Royal Grand Opening weekend as well as some context for how outrageous it all was.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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