In an unusual sight at Penn Station, cowboy hats were tipped towards the departure board, with wearers abuzz in anticipation to board a crowded train to New Jersey. The catalyst for this uncommon enthusiasm? The globally celebrated singer, Beyoncé, and her Renaissance World Tour at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
“Beyoncé, Track 14!” A New Jersey Transit employee’s shout in a neon yellow vest seemed more like a battle cry than an announcement. Fans in sparkling sequins hastily ignored a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign in their excited rush towards the escalators. It was 7 p.m., and rather than shelling out approximately $70 for an Uber from Midtown Manhattan to the Meadowlands, Beyoncé enthusiasts chose to make their pilgrimage via public transit.
Clad in festive attire and body glitter, they proudly held paper tickets between chromed nails. The usually staid commuter rail line was transformed into a pre-concert party as fans vogued through a transfer at Secaucus from 4 p.m. onwards.
For fans like Alyssa Garmone, a 22-year-old actress from Queens, the $5.50 train ride was about “balling on a budget”. She, alongside others like Victoria Muschitiello, a 27-year-old dental hygienist from Long Island, turned the train cars into party buses. Drinks were sipped, music played from portable speakers, and a shared camaraderie united the diverse riders.
Amidst the revelry, even a bout of bronchitis couldn’t dampen the spirit of Sierra Williams, a 25-year-old video operations coordinator from Manhattan, who was determined to witness Beyoncé’s performance. Fans felt connected to one another, to the music, and to the wider message of inclusivity conveyed through Beyoncé’s album “Renaissance”.
Crossing the Hudson was a minor inconvenience for fans who were prepared to fly across oceans for cheaper seats. Getting lost in Penn Station and scouring Google for previous concert commute tips, like those for a Taylor Swift concert, were all part of the pre-concert journey for fans like Camila Grisel and Linda Garcia from Manhattan.
The evening’s energy perfectly encapsulated the power of music and the magnetic charm of Beyoncé, who inspired her fans to turn a simple commute into an unforgettable pre-concert experience.