It’s after 11 p.m. on a Saturday night and Beyoncé has forgone a slew of other places to be here.
Fresh off a Hawaiian vacation with her family, her sister’s 30th birthday celebration and the 41-date U.S. leg of her Formation World Tour — complete with a 36-song set — it would be understandable if she were asleep. But she wasn’t. Instead, she opted for the dark, empty confines of an empty arena. Drenched in water and taking refuge beneath a towel while seated at a three-monitor setup next to Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé is still working. With less that 24 hours to spare before her next gig, she is correcting camera shots, repeatedly running through physically taxing choreography and belting out “Freedom” over and over, each time with the same fervor as the last rendition. In a covert operation manned by more than 100 people, the striking part of her impromptu night shift is that millions of people don’t know it’s taking place. There’s no photo op. No interview. No audience. Propped up in a an all-white bodysuit adorned with sequins and tassels, the singer is a far cry away from rest and relaxation, as a 10-hour flight to Sunderland, North England looms.
The locale of choice for the biggest star in the world this evening is the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, rehearsing for the 2016 BET Awards.