Friday, May 10, 2013

Rihanna in Brooklyn

My attendance (and first time) at the Barclays Center this past Tuesday was indicative of my own arsenal of favorite Rihanna records. One devoted fan shared, "I love her (Rihanna) because she's so versatile". The Barbadian singer has proven her ability to thrive in any mold, but fascinatingly, Rihanna's stage presence is best attributed to that of a rapper. Her swagger is gritty and vulgar. Her walk is cocky and her mannerisms expressive. She works the stage patiently while occasionally applying short, subtle choreography with steps that allow her to stay within her physical and vocal boundaries; after all, one doesn't necessarily expect Rihanna to utterly dazzle with dance routines and vocal prowess. Even so, the enormous clout associated with her countless hit records gave Rihanna 19,000 people to party with her.

Opening with "Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary" drenched in a black cloak, the ballad rendition made for a captivating reverb on Rihanna's finite vocals, segueing into the highly anticipated build up for "Fresh off the Runway", igniting the festivities in the regally decadent robe shown above. Rhi Rhi hosted the party in her natural state, getting ratchet with her strip club anthem "Pour it Up" and catapulting the crowd with "We Found Love", "Jump", "Where Have You Been", and "Only Girl in the World". She took brief mellow turns with "Cold Case Love" from her Rated R album, "What Now", and "Stay", the widely embraced ballads from Unapologetic. Rhi's "Rock Star" set was pleasantly embellished by her lead guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, who also brilliantly contributed the rock-and-roll theme to her segment for "What's My Name". Rihanna's entire live band enhances her cause during reggae segments for "No Love Allowed" and the 2007 hit "Umbrella", adding a substantial appeal to the popular records.

In the eyes of Rihanna's die hard #Navy she can do no wrong, but as one fan described, "She just knows how to party". This much was clear after the final show of her Diamonds World Tour. Based on my acquired criteria, this show would grade a 7.5 out of 10. Her presentation, presence, and musical repertoire alone made for an electrifying ambiance, but her vocal presence and showmanship did not leave an awestruck impression. Nonetheless, Rihanna's depth is exceedingly manifest in her 90-minute set; able to captivate, illuminate, and most importantly, entertain with a wide range of vibes and emotions. Check out the brief video clip below of her closing the show with "Diamonds" (one of my favorite records from last year).

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