Saturday, March 05, 2011

Rihanna - Live In Sydney

I have issues with Rihanna. She knows her way around a killer single better than anyone - as her impressive chart run attests - but the poor man's Shontelle is yet to release a decent album and I just don't buy her frequent image changes. Is she the edgy Grace Jones wannabe from "Rated R" or the happy go lucky sex addict circa "Loud"? Riri strikes me as the ultimate record company product - a blank canvas tarted up by a panel of music execs to fit the latest trend - but she tops the charts more regularly than Toni Braxton files for bankruptcy, so who am I to judge? I guess I was just hoping to catch a glimpse of the woman behind the machine at last night's concert. It didn't happen. There is something incredibly impersonal about Rihanna. She came across as surprisingly sweet, looked absolutely stunning and, when she wasn't miming or singing over a backing track, sounded less offensive than I remember. But the Bajan beauty still seemed to be going through the motions. Regardless, it was a fun show and I would go back and see her again. She just needs to watch Beyoncé's "I Am... World Tour" DVD on repeat for a couple of days to see how a real diva does it.

The show began on a high. Riri emerged from under a catwalk to sing along to a recording of "Only Girl (In The World)". She looked beautiful in a long red wig and dress made of flowers and appeared a lot more at ease than she did during the "Rated R" numbers. I should point out that Rihanna brought her "Last Girl On Earth" tour to Australia (ie. the "Rated R" tour) not the "Loud" tour she's about the kick off in the States. Happily, she threw in a couple of new songs - all of which sounded better than the dirge from her last album. Speaking of crap, "Hard" was next. That was followed by a rock version of "Shut Up And Drive". You couldn't really understand a word she was singing but it was probably for the best. After yet another "Rated R" stinker - "Fire Bomb" - things livened up again with a eerie rendition of "Disturbia". I had forgotten how awesome that song is. I went for a piss when I heard the opening verse of "Rockstar 101" but, happily, I made it back to see Ri-cycle mime "S&M". Her performance was great and I'm slowly coming around to "Loud". She just seems so happy and relaxed singing along to songs from that album. It's kind of contagious! The fun part of the first half concluded with one of the highlights from "Rated R". A filthy rendition of "Rude Boy". M.I.A. would be so proud.

Sitting through a live Rihanna ballad medley is almost enough to make you forgive Chris Brown. "Hate That I Love You" sounded retched, "Love The Way You Lie" (an absolutely epic song) just made the grade, while her wailing through "Unfaithful" solved Sydney's pigeon problem. I was genuinely excited when Riri switched it up by belting out her lesbian stalker anthem "Te Amo". I still think it is one of the best tracks she's ever recorded. That was followed by "What's My Name?" and a roof raising performance of "Don't Stop The Music". Girlfriend should have kept the old school hits coming. Where was "We Ride" and "Pon De Replay"? Instead we got "Breakin' Dishes" and a cover of "The Glamorous Life" - an obvious and appreciated nod to Australia's iconic queen of pop Melissa Tkautz. "Let Me" and "SOS" weren't particularly memorable - probably because she gave them the shitty "Rated R" rock treatment, but I loved her rendition of "Take A Bow". Which is probably my favourite Rihanna song of all time. It was as good a point as any to end the concert. Even though Riri didn't get the standing ovation they were obviously hoping for when they turned the camera on the audience. Rudeness, Sydney. Her encore was a crappy medley of "Wait Your Turn", "Live Your Life" (another fave of mine) and "Run This Town" - which included footage of Bey's husband. Aww. Rihanna's final number was a monumentally fabulous take on "Umbrella" - while suspended above the stage on what appeared to be a giant pogo stick with jets blowing pieces of red tinsel into the air. A cute way to end a pleasant if not mindblowing show.

10 comments:

Mariah said...

simply put, she doesn't have a personality. she's very shallow.

But I totally agree with your first paragraph. I think she is horrible but she seems sweet and I like her songs.

Anonymous said...

@Mariah
I, too, used to think she got 0 personality, but then... I followed her on twitter. It was a life-changing experience for me, in a good way :D

Mike, your taste on Rihanna's catalogue is VERY hit-or-miss and borderline sucks :P (didn't know a polite way to put it). So, what you're saying here is that you love "We Ride", "Take A Bow" is your favorite, yet you hate "Breakin' Dishes" and "Fire Bomb", which are generally considered as the ultimate fan favorites.

You seriously need to steer clear of Rihanna blogs/fansites/whatever.

Anyway, I thought you were a RiRi hater(?). How come you graced her concert with you presence?

Jon said...

I find Rhianna leaves me completely cold - I personally can never forgive her for the aural torture that is "Umbrella", and as for her collaboration with arch-homophobe Eminem - like you say, "I'm with Chris Brown"! How can someone without any human features be so successful? Jx

D'luv said...

The Borders bookstore chain, like Toni Braxton, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy recently, and they're closing about 30% of the sales. The one around the corner is being shut down sometime before April, so I took advantage of their big sale recently and picked up a stack of DVDs and Rihanna's Loud on CD. (I'd already acquired it through less classy methods before, but wanted some mindless trash for my car)...

ANYWAY, the moral of the story is that Loud is her first album I can actually almost get through the whole way. It all sort of falls apart after track 6 or 7...whatever that reggae one is.

In conclusion, why haven't you written about Smokahontas Jones in over a year, you snatch!?

D'luv said...

Er, closing 30% of their stores, that should say...

Me said...

After watching the GGGB tour on TV, I could never bring myself to pay too see a Rihanna show. Still, good for her for actually going out there and performing (somewhat) live - unlike several other pop (or should that be FLOP) divas who think touring is something you do on holiday...

I can't believe the LGOE tour is still not finished yet - does this mean the Loud tour will simply be the same tour with most of the Rated R tracks swapped for new numbers?

Me said...

And We Ride is her third best track (behind Disturbia & Whats My Name then followed by Please Don't Stop The Music, Rude Boy & Te Amo)

A1 said...

Love the way you lie ..is dredge.
Live your life.. a euro classic rip off, and more dredge.
The singles collection from Rated R, and Loud are so fricken sopt on!
S&M remainsthe highlight on Loud, its solid, back to #1 in Oz i might add!!

beysux said...

she didnt mim u cunt!

Anonymous said...

RIRI is getting successful by a day.rihanna keep up the gud work.i lyk her she's my role model by gudness