Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Nokia Presents Rihanna...for 30 minutes

Posted by Tahirah

photo: Getty/D. Bennet/ Rihanna Daily

Tonight, in Brixton Academy (South London), Nokia presented an "exclusive" (the least exclusive 'exclusive' show I've ever been to) Rihanna showcase as her first official performance to promote Rated R. The place was heaving with the industry, Rihanna fans and Nokia phone owners, while the rest of the world were able to watch from via their computer screens on Nokia.com.

The night started with a stellar set by Chase & Status - they expertly mixed drum and bass into hip hop, R&B and funky house - they also remembered they were in Brixton and threw a healthy dose of dancehall into the mix too.

Around a quarter-past 8, the show opened with a VT featuring clips of Rihanna to "Mad House", Rated R's minute and a half intro. Rihanna tore onto the stage, finally revealing the only thing most females in the audience cared about - her outfit. We can leave discussing the fact whether a "musician's" clothes should ever be more important than their craft but it would be ridiculous to deny that Ri-Ri's not just a fashion icon of this generation, but a bad bish! I can honestly see more longevity in her career as a fashionista than as a vocalist.

As expected, she looked stunning, thankfully with no barbwire or eye-patches in sight. Clad in a black leotard embroided with sequins and a large, puffy glove on her left arm, Rihanna launched into "The Wait Is Ova."

She followed this with "Russian Roulette", and she exhibited vocal ability she definitely didn't possess a few years ago. That said, I'm sure many of her vocals were recorded as live as there was definitely some miming happening - and at times her voice was swallowed by production-heavy beats. She segued into "Please Don't Stop The Music", "Take A Bow" and "Disturbia" from Good Girl Gone Bad before performing Hard.

Young Jeezy took the stage, sending the audience into a frenzy while he performed his underwhelming verse on the track. Run This Town came next, and with murmurings of an appearance from Jay-Z the audience threw themselves into a frenzy. They weren't disappointed as Jay took to the stage to casually executed his verses. Finally, Rihanna ended her short set with her biggest release to date, Umbrella, and over-zealous audience members opened umbrellas to show their support.

I've never considered Ms Fenty as an "entertainer", thus, I attended the show with little expectations. Luckily, Rihanna exceeded these (to be fair, it wouldn't have been hard to) and not only had a little camaraderie with the audience, she also knew how to perform (even though she grabbed and rubbed her crotch JUST a bit too much) and exhibited a little personality I REALLY didn't believe she possessed. That said, the thing that impressed me most about the gig was the social networking aspect; before the show started the large screens displayed twitter updates from audience members and viewers who'd included trend #RihannaLive in their tweets and the stage production (which included the stage instillation of random silver clothing mannequin parts a-top of awkwardly positioned television sets).

Keep it locked to the Block for a review of Rated R.

Random sidebar/update: Ri-Ri raved it up hard last night with the UK's finest to celebrate her introduction back to the stage and stumbled out of Mahiki nightclub like THIS