On Monday, pop star/demigoddess Beyoncé announced On The Run 2, her second North American tour with her hubby (and fellow superstar) Jay-Z. If you listened closely, you could hear the screams of excited Beyoncé fans everywhere
Well, almost everywhere. Denver wasn’t anywhere to be found on the 21 dates announced for the 2018 summer/fall tour.
If you’ve been in Colorado for a while, the Beyoncé snub doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. It feels like ages since Bae has come through the Mile High City. Crunching the numbers, that’s not far off: To find the last time Beyoncé performed in Denver, you have to go back more than a decade to 2007. None of Beyoncé’s four tours since then — On The Run 2 will be her fifth — have come to Denver.
So, Beyoncé fans in the Mile High City shouldn’t be surprised. But Denver’s appetite for concerts has grown in the last decade. So why does this keep happening?
The city’s location is partly to blame for Denver’s Bey drought. Big tours like On The Run 2 typically mean big production — pyrotechnics, wild stage lights and massive screens. All of those giant pieces of gear usually get from town to town the old fashioned way: tractor trailers. The driver’s salaries and gas costs come out of the tour budget. That means the longer an artist is on the road between gigs, the less money the tour is pocketing. Beyonce’s route through the U.S. — along Louisiana, two stops in Texas, one in Phoenix before wrapping with a cluster of shows in the southern half of California — makes sense financially, even if it leaves Denver fans out of the loop.
Combine that with a note from our review of the singer’s last show here — that she “played to a house that was anything but packed” — and you start to get an idea of why Sasha Fierce isn’t chomping at the bit to get back to town. (Jay-Z hasn’t fared much better here: In the past, he’s sold tickets at cut-rate prices in the days before his show — a practice called “papering the house” — to fill out under-sold concerts.)
Beyoncé wouldn’t be the first to fly over Denver in the last couple of years. U2 bypassed the city for its 2017 Joshua Tree tour, despite snagging Colorado’s The Lumineers and OneRepublic for opening acts. Kanye West — who hasn’t played a gig here since 2008 — canceled his most recent Denver gig (and the rest of his tour) in late 2016. Radiohead, who’s only played two shows in Colorado in the last 15 years, left Denver off the itinerary for its latest run of 2018 North American dates. (Seattle was the closest it came to our fair city.)
So, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. But in 2018, we have a right to be upset. Denver has become a top-5 music market in the country — it’s even getting its own Bonnaroo this year — so a marquee tour skipping town is almost as notable as when it doesn’t. And let’s be honest: Unless there’s some to-be-announced festival appearance slated this year (Grandoozy, don’t fail me now), these artists are leaving money on the table by skipping a market this big. Nickelback played Red Rocks, Bey. The least you can do is hang out with your husband at the Pepsi Center for a few hours.
If you’re a die-hard, card-carrying member of the Beyhive, a flight out is your only hope for seeing Beyoncé right now. The closest the singer comes to Denver is AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas or University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, both in September. Tickets go on sale March 19 at 10 a.m. But you should probably start getting ready now: Judging by how many people are hate-tweeting about the singer’s Denver no-show, you’ll probably have to compete with a couple of cities worth of fans to get in.