Beyoncé‘s Renaissance World Tour formally kicked off Wednesday (May 10) at Stockholm, Sweden’s Friends Arena, and of the many surprises the queen had in store for the Beyhive in attendance, one musical nod was truly unexpected.
During the latter half of the concert, Beyoncé transitioned into Renaissance cut “Thique,” while accompanied by French dance duo Les Twins Before launching into the lyrics of the first verse, the iconic instrumental of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” — modified with a ticking noise to add depth — chimed in the background ahead of her singing “She thought she was killin’ that sh–, I told her, ‘Go harder’/ Just look at this alkaline wrist ’cause I got that water.” Fans, naturally, erupted in joyous screams as Bey gave a nod to her fellow pop icon.
During the second half of the concert, Beyoncé changed into a fashionable bee costume and acted as a news anchor while performing “America Has a Problem.” The stage was complete with “on air” signs and a “KNTY 4 News” desk that featured fellow reporters (her backup dancers). The concert wrapped with a House of Renaissance vogue dance-off, with Beyoncé sitting atop the chrome horse pictured on the Renaissance album cover before flying over the stadium with help from suspension chords.
“I want y’all to give it up for yourselves for being a wonderful audience,” she told the crowd as confetti rained from the ceiling and backup dancers congregated onstage for the big finish. “God bless you.”
The Renaissance World Tour will continue throughout Europe until July 9, with stops in London, Barcelona, Brussels and Amsterdam before heading to Toronto for a pair of dates at Rogers Centre.
Watch Beyoncé sample Spears’ “Toxic” here.