The man responsible for discovering Rihanna has seemingly gone from 99 to at least 100 problems in light of Beyonce’s new album Lemonade. To take a line from “99 Problems”, there may be a few people out there “questioning the intelligence that Jay-Z has”, however signing Rihanna twice now? Well that just ain’t one (Hit me).
Yes, it would be a tall order to find someone in the wake of Rihanna’s sold-out Anti Tour performance at Roger’s Arena that would argue that idea that Rihanna came to town put in her work, work, work, work, work, and left the city knowing that for at least one night she could “Run This Town”.
Emerging from a secondary stage shrouded in white light, Rihanna eased into the show Saturday night with the second single from her 2012 Unapologetic album “Stay”.
Matching the white scenery Rihanna wore a white robe with a hood pulled over her head, “Riri”, looked more like Sam from Trick ‘r Treat than she did the starlet we have come to know her as. The all white attire adorning the hit-maker was merely the beginning of what would be a multitude of tone altering costume changes during the Vancouver leg of her tour.
Following “Stay” with a subdued and Eminem-less version of “Love The Way You Lie”, proved that Rihanna was slow playing the sold-out Rogers area.
The Vancouver crowd was on the edge of their seats with anticipation and used any excuse such as Rihanna simply taking off the hood to her robe to erupt into a collective frenzy of screams and adulation.
When the Bajan Beauty took the entire robe off, the sounds of support drowned out any hopes of hearing the music.
Using what looked to be a set-piece from the Japanese television show Ninja Warrior, Rihanna travelled from the smaller secondary platform to the fairly bare main stage where she would remain for the duration of the performance.
Stringing together an impressive 27 songs in an hour and 15 minutes, Rihanna’s backdrop was fairly stripped down in terms of set-deck and frills. Employing some skilled dancers with innovative dance moves and coupling them with what I can only describe as a DJ orchestral pit, the former Bridgetown resident let her performance do the talking, as opposed to engaging much of any banter between tracks, save for the ordinary pleasantries.
When she did take a pause to chat with the crowd, she seemed quite impressed with the response she received from her loyal VanCity following. As most artists do, Rihanna was guilty of pulling out a line or two that had a well worn feel to it stating “Some crowds you are surprised by, but with Vancouver crowds you know what to expect” when sharing what felt like genuine appreciation for a consistently strong welcome by the city.
It was when the Rude-girl broke into “Diamonds” that the reciprocal love hit its apex with an impressive display of diamonds in the form of thousands of phones in the sky.
With Rihanna’s confidence in stride, and with her creative ingenuity firing on all cylinders, it feels hard to imagine that the woman on the top of the marquee in the largest venue in the city was often the target of many online blogs and assorted media publications labelling her as lacking in singing ability. Rihanna’s stunning performance proves that her aesthetically pleasing curves are not the only thing that just won’t quit.
Rihanna’s Vancouver Anti Tour Set-list:
Love The Way You Lie
Sex With Me
Pour It Up
Bitch Better Have My Money
Live Your Life
All Of The Lights
Run This Town
We Found Love
Where Have You Been
Same Ol’ Mistakes
Love On The Brain
Kiss It Better