Inside Nokia Music: Being an Alt-Rock child of the 90’s, any scenester-minded individual may have considered covering Rihanna through her Rated R album launch & world tour a bit laborious. But having become aware of it, then eradicating any scene adoption for the ridiculously misconceived need for a sense of belonging during my earlier years, I already had an inclination towards the odd Rihanna tune here and there. Certainly enough admiration to warrant me being a nervous wreck during the interview I did with her back in November ‘09.
Since a few weeks before the interview, I’ve near enough lived and breathed Rihanna and engaged with the fans, day in and day out. I’ve seen dedication to their Diva pushed beyond obsession, and to the likes of which I’ve never seen anywhere before. So much so that by an innocent folly of my own I suffered a backlash from fans that were angry at me for using a certain blog as a vehicle to get concert ticket give-aways out to a potentially larger Rihanna audience – The folly being that the aforementioned blog does have the odd poke at Rihanna and are well known among Rihanna communities for doing so. Although, only opinion that I believe should be taken with a pinch of salt, at the same time I do understand the frustration for the fans – which is a conundrum I would much rather have avoided altogether. This in a round-about sort of way brings me onto last night’s show at the O2…
The Last Girl On Earth show begins with an audio-visual introduction depicting a “Welcome to Rihanna’s dream… Is this real, is this not?” scenario. A sort of post-apocalyptic future reanimation of the last girl on earth (think Alien Resurrection) that continues throughout the show during costume and minor set changes with a smorgasbord of dark imagery and stylings reminiscent of Star wars, Tank Girl, and even Marilyn Manson.
Segueing into Russian Roulette, Rihanna is elevated by a stage platform wearing a dress red-lit on her abdomen with LED’s representing her beating heart, in context with the song’s lyrical content. As the song draws to an end, her rifle-toting dancers take up a firing squad line, and as the song’s closing shot rings out, the lights diminish to but a few…
A ballad is an unusual way to begin a show with but works on this occasion, giving impact room for Hard before rolling out the crowd pleasing Shut Up And Drive.
After Fire Bomb and a version of Disturbia with a renditioned intro, it’s Rockstar 101 when I really noticed just how much of a rock show the Last Girl On Earth Tour is. With it’s shredding guitars and world class triplet and syncopated live drumming, I couldn’t help but feel the “edgier” Rihanna does seem a bit lost on the island girl fans as the oceans of them in the standing area seemed more akin to the sea of tranquility… but never mind Ri-Ri, it was appreciated here.
Recent single Rude Boy revitalises the crowds again before the pace takes a laid-back turn as her guitarist and backing singers join her atop the pink tank prop (that had me grinning all night) for a medley of Oasis’ Wonderwall and Hate That I Love You.
Rehab hits it like every great power-ballad should and is followed by personal favourite Unfaithful.
After a touching Stupid In Love and a slightly over-mixed acoustic guitar on Te Amo, Pon De Replay seemed to briefly introduce a stomping Don’t Stop The Music. S.O.S seemed to get a slight chord progression rendition in the chorus too and sounded a little darker than usual… but still brilliant!
After another costume and set change I caught a cheeky glimpse from my ace seat near the stage side and instantly recognised the set from the Rated R launch party, picking Wait Your Turn as the first of the encore. The remainder of which was reserved for the biggies as she belted out Live Your Life and Run This Town… setting the beat up perfectly for show-closer Umbrella.
Stuck in my head for the rest of the night: Hard
Check out the the 2 new exclusive videos of Rihanna on ‘creating a new sound’ and what the ‘R’ stands for in Rated R here