Gig Review & Pictures: Rihanna at The O2 Arena, London – December 1st 2011

Coming on stage to at least 5,000 people booing is not the way any one wants to start a sold-out show London’s O2 Arena.  However, given that Rihanna had made everyone wait over an hour before starting, it was no surprise.  We had been through, chants of her name, Mexican waves, slow clapping, whistles… to the only natural progression was to boo as she came out.  We had to do it (boo her) to get it out of our system.  Also to show solidarity with the hundreds I saw walk past me around 10pm after having travelled from afar in search of last train home to places far beyond the confines of the M25.  Imagine travelling hours to not even see your superstar sing one note!

Music fans, as with any fans, are pretty fickle and with a few songs and a ghastly candy covered outfit, it was all soon forgiven.

Rihanna’s show was full of imagery, costume changes and excitement that did not for a second drag.  It was a display of colour, creation, a pink staircase-tank – it was like a trip to a fairground at times.  Oh… and then there was also so much sexual energy you could bottle it up to sell in Ann Summers.  The “kinky” section featured whips, chains, latex and some poor lady being pounced upon by RiRi before disappearing in a veil  of smoke down to her lair of lust.  The performance of Skin, was an unexpected treat and S&M was the first true karaoke moment of the night.

Surprisingly, where Rihanna is best known for her sexually explicit nature, the  highlight of the evening was the ballads section.  Wearing a beautiful, long, and flowing yellow dress she sung UnfaithfulCalifornia King Bed, and Hate That I Love You with a picturesque sentimentality which took me by surprise.  That wee  section had me a little in awe of her.

Everyone knows Rihanna is not the most gifted of vocalists and her live show exposes this.  There were enough smoke and mirrors during the course of the evening to mask the vast majority of vocal short comings.  Even though this was the Loud Tour, it would have been nice to see Rihanna sneak in a few tunes from her latest #1 album Talk That Talk.  Cockiness performed live would have been interesting to say the least!

Rihanna knows how to craft a pop song, and on Thursday night she showed she knows how to create a decent live performance too.

It is well worth seeking out a live Rihanna performance, just be weary that you may need to book a cab home to be on the safe side!

Rob

Rihanna at The O2 Rihanna at The O2 Rihanna at The O2 Rihanna at The O2 Rihanna at The O2 Rihanna at The O2

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