@ The Aviva Stadium – Friday, June 21st, 2013
Over in the standing area or pit, the crowd resembled a rainbow of electroluminescent raincoats, lipstick and fake tan. The Irish weather turned for the worse, spitting rain down on us while GTA a DJ duo played in sync nu-rave versions of Bruno Mars, The Who to Florence and the Machine’s well-known pop songs.
RiRi swaggers out to eruptions, hitting the stage a little late, but not too bad by Irish standards and gets right down to business with “Phresh Out on the Runway”. Entourage on tow, backing dancers dressed like Grace Jones in black leotards, shades, plenty of gold and bling keeping Rihanna company, while loyally moving around her – a synchronized and futuristic urban ghetto crew.
Smashing straight in with some new tunes “Birthday Cake” , “Talk that Talk” and “Pour It Up” the mood bit by bit begins to dip, as the new material which has not been promoted in Ireland, really falls flat on us all. No one knows these initial songs, so not much excitement was garnered, judging by the audience’s reaction. On autopilot now, RiRi continues.
Stagewise the set opening was quiet dull, held up mainly by graphics and screens with the odd flashing light here and there. RiRi almost sleepwalks through the routine, her lacklustre movements are not particularly inspiring – most people are chatting and not really paying attention. In between sets “the dudes” on guitar playing Guns-N-Roses style solos, was just wrong at this gig. We all just wanted to see Rihanna get on down and amaze us with her unusual dance moves on stage, her energy from past performances was sorely missed.
On and on it went, disappearing frequently for four intermissions and various costume changes – she moved from ass length, black and white boots to leather spandex and leotards and on to a sexy red dress ensemble, dusted off with some glittery sequinned numbers. All of this combined with screen and lighting changes didn’t change the pace or the mood.
Everything gets better with “Rude Boy”, “S&M” and “Umbrella” – flames and umbrellas flew up into the sky across the stadium. Stand out songs from the night were ”Stay” and “Diamonds”. Rihanna was definitely more comfortable singing slower, romantic tunes – she shone bright like a diamond in the sky and eased our pain away. Perhaps this is the direction she now wants to take.
Pace-wise the show was very slow, poorly art directed to an average standard and the general lack of enthusiasm for the first six songs really sank the mood in the stadium. Taking her time, here in body but not in soul, it was hard not to become side tracked and distracted from the performance as it seems she was bored herself.
Overall a performance on autopilot by Rihanna, saved by her loyal dancers and entourage.
In association with Dublinconcerts.ie