Views on pop culture through my eyes

Experience This: Rihanna

Rihanna in ConcertRihanna in Concert
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Staples Center

Loud Tour 2011

Special guests: J Cole, DJ Dummy

Songs performed: Only Girl in the World, Disturbia, Shut Up And Drive, Man Down, Darling Nikki, S&M, Let Me, Skin, Raining Men, Hard, Breakin’ Dishes, Glamorous Life, Run This Town, Live Your Life, Unfaithful, Hate That I Love You, California King Bed, What’s My Name, Rude Boy, Cheers (Drink To That), Don’t Stop The Music, Take A Bow, Love The Way You Lie (Part II), Umbrella

Comments: Fun and flirty Rihanna commanded the stage at the Staples Center for a capacity crowd. She showed why she is one of the hottest acts around these days. She has quite a song catalog for only 23.

After a brief video intro, and watching the 4 large round discs rise off the stage to reveal that they were really video screens, she emerged from the rear of the stage to sing “Only Girl in the World.” She was dressed in a shiny bright blue raincoat, with her dancers also dressed in bright island colors. In the past few years, she has emerged as a true superstar…churning out hit after radio-friendly hit. She has become the “go-to” girl for hip-hop and rap stars if you need someone to sing a memorable hook/chorus. And since the whole Chris Brown incident, she has emerged as a symbol of female empowerment (like Beyonce) and a fashionista too.

“Loud” her latest album was the focus, with a good amount also from “Good Girl Gone Bad” (her big breakthrough). The stage had a round moving platform in the middle, which rotated as well as raised and lowered as needed during the show. The band was on a riser in the back, and stayed there other than the guitarist and the background vocalists who walked around the stage also. She had 8 dancers — male and female who added to the spectacle.

She shed the blue raincoat after the first number to reveal a bright multi-colored, sparkly bikini top and bottom. She was working the moving walkway at the front of the stage in her pink neon high heels and her playful outfit. “Shut Up and Drive” brought out a funky car front which she posed and sang on.

The first costume change was for the Prince cover “Darling Nikki.” She wore a man’s suit and was the ring leader of sorts for a bunch of girls, who worked the poles. The sex vibe continued for “S&M”, where she shed the man’s suit for a white one piece. I loved the visual of hands reaching through the stage for her body. Sexy female and male dancers were dancing with her on the elevated platform. “Skin” completed the sensuous vibe and ended with her picking a guy from the crowd and having him lie down while she slid on top and did some sexy moves as the platform was lowered into the floor.

The next segment was the “military” segment and started with Rihanna and the dancers in fanciful military inspired outfits and Rihanna riding on a pink tank. “Raining Men,” “Hard” and “Breaking Dishes” were in this segment,

She ventured out on the floor to go to a small round stage towards the back of the arena. She sang Sheila E.’s “The Glamorous Life” and when she reached the small stage there was a drum/percussion kit there. She proceeded to play them just like Sheila would have. The small stage elevated while she played, it was in front of an area that was marked “Citi” like it was a perk for some special card members or something. On the way back to the stage, she sang some of her hip-hop collaborations like Jay Z’s “Run This Town” and T.I.’s “Live Your Life” (a personal favorite for me, she MAKES that song).

“Unfaithful” was performed with Rihanna inside a jagged/abstract sort of prison with the female backup singers on the side. “Hate to Love You” proved to be a great sing-along with her and her guitarist on one of the side extensions on the stage. “California King Bed” brought her back to the center of the stage with dry ice flowing over the whole stage.

Back to being playful and more colorful outfits for “What’s My Name?” Daisy dukes and a halter top. “Rude Boy,” “Cheers (Drink to That)” and “Please Don’t Stop the Music” were in this segment. She even drank a shot on stage after “Cheers.” “Take a Bow” showed she is equally adept at ballads as well as dance songs.

For the first encore, Rihanna joined a handsome piano player as she sat atop the piano and it floated over the stage during “Love the Way You Lie.” “Umbrella” was the set closer… the production was not that big surprisingly, some of the dancers came out with umbrellas and they twirled them as she went off the stage. But you can’t deny the song, as it is one of the best of the last decade.

I wish that she had done “Pon De Replay” and “SOS,” but she didn’t!

Rihanna’s ‘Loud” Tour was a triumphant celebration of the songs, moves, fashions and hooks of a tremendously talented and powerful young woman. She’s made quite an impression on the pop scene.

Cee Lo Green cancelled his performance… oh well! I figured he would be busy with “The Voice.” J. Cole and his DJ, DJ Dummy served as openers. J. Cole was nice to look at, but his music was forgettable including a song built around a Paula Abdul “Straight Up” sample.


Comments on: "Experience This: Rihanna" (1)

  1. Wonderful issues altogether, you’ve simply received a new reader.

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