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Fans arrive in Columbia to see Beyonce: ‘It’s not a concert; it’s a performance’

Beyoncé and Jay-Z fans got in formation (sorry, couldn’t resist) hours before the duo took the stage at USC’s Williams-Brice Stadium on Tuesday night.

Thousands flocked to the stadium area like it was a football game day for the Carters’ On The Run II tour stop in Columbia.

The concert, which is likely to feature her song “Formation,” is one of the most-anticipated in Columbia in years and the first at Williams-Brice Stadium since 2013, when Kenny Chesney and the Zac Brown Band performed there.

‘Birthday Beyonce’

“Birthday Beyonce” was the star of the tailgate three hours before the show.

Hilary Cox’s cardboard cutout of the Queen is thus named because of its regular appearances for workplace birthdays. (She also has a cutout of Britney Spears.)

Tuesday afternoon, it brought all the single ladies (sorry, again, the puns just write themselves) to the State Fairgrounds to pose, while 29-year-old Cox and friends blasted Bey and Jay hits from a speaker.

“Beyoncé is one of the top five performers of our generation,” said Cox, who will also be seeing the Carters perform in Atlanta this weekend. “Even if you’re not a fan of Beyoncé, it’s cool to see her perform. ... I think it’d be a shame not to see her when she’s right here in our backyard.”

“It’s not just a concert; it’s a performance,” said Cox’s friend Rebekah Parker, 28. “I’m ready for ‘Single Ladies.’

‘She escapes through music’

Brooke Johnson saw Taylor Swift perform just a week ago, but she’s much more excited to see Beyoncé — for the third time.

Johnson, 39, has a wrist tattoo of a lemon in honor of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album, and her fingernails were accordingly manicured.

She and Tiffany Williams took two days off work and drove to Columbia from Myrtle Beach for the concert.

“Her music is really good. It tells a story about the stuff she’s been through,” said Williams, 40, who is seeing the Queen Bee for the first time. “She escapes through music.”

And her dancing’s not bad either.

‘You just don’t know what she’s going to do’

Happy Bey-day? How about Happy Birthday!

Rachel Beilke’s 24th birthday was as sweet as Lemonade (OK, OK, that’s the last one ... probably).

The USC grad and her friends Sally Groce, Ragen Steele and Morgan Clemons were excited to return to Williams-Brice Stadium —for once, not for a football game.

“I just want to see what all the hype is about,” said Clemons, a 24-year-old who grew up on the music of Destiny’s Child but has not listened to much of Beyoncé’s solo repertoire.

It was the anticipation of what stunts Beyoncé might pull on stage that had 23-year-old Steele excited.

“You just don’t know what she’s going to do,” Steele said.

The ‘royal couple’ is in Columbia

“The Queen is in town. The royal couple of music is here,” Julie O’Hara said.

The occasion calls for royal attire.

O’Hara and her crew of ladies drove from Charlotte wearing bedazzled everything and matching shiny rose gold jackets, handmade by O’Hara herself.

“I said we want to be creative and we needed to re-create (Beyoncé’s) Coachella look and do our own flavor to it,” said O’Hara, 53.

The car-full of six women fell in love with Beyoncé two decades ago when she debuted with Destiny’s Child.

“She has energy like Superwoman,” said Michelle Grier, 50. “She stays true to her fan base. She makes us feel like she’s a part of us.”

Beyonce put SC ‘on the map’

Greater love hath no woman than her love for Bey.

“My love for Beyonce knows no bounds,” 24-year-old Ashley Durant said. “I would take off my wig for Beyoncé.”

Her friend Leighetta Fuller, 25, dyed her long locks purple for the Queen.

Oh, and Jay-Z, too.

Durant, Fuller and Alaina Fisher, 25, arrived more than two hours early for the concert, driving from Charleston.

“I’m glad she came to South Cack,” Fisher said. “She put us on the map. ... If Beyoncé comes, everybody should come.”

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