Acer Arena, March 4
MUCH has happened since Rihanna last left the Acer Arena stage at the end of 2008 - starting with her abrupt exit during that show's encore, when she rushed offstage mid-song and collapsed due to dehydration and inhaling pyrotechnic smoke.
Mere months after that otherwise sensational gig, her support act and then boyfriend, Chris Brown, attacked her, making her more famous for something other than her often scintillating R&B-pop.
She subsequently released two albums in 12 months, perhaps in an attempt to put the focus back on her music.
Maybe she just wanted to stay on stage to the very end this time, but despite providing all the staples of a standard arena show - energetic dancers, slick video footage, flashy sets and costumes, raining ticker tape - Rihanna's performance was restrained, bordering on lethargic.
In contrast to the 2008 tour, when she seemed determined to prove she was singing live throughout, she too often relied on her two backing vocalists to fill in the blanks. If the trade-off was freedom to dance more, she didn't really take advantage of it, almost ambling through her parts of the routines and barely breaking a sweat all night.
The music fell in line with the title of her latest album, Loud. With a band featuring '90s hair-rock heart-throb Nuno Bettencourt shredding away on lead guitar, the bombastic approach to Rihanna's upbeat songs tended to homogenise them, while her voice was merely adequate when she sang whichever bits of the big ballads she didn't leave to her backing singers.
There were memorable moments, such as the Spanish-style guitar that drove Te Amo and Rihanna's Mardi Gras-tastic straddling the gun of a pink tank during Hard.
It was also pleasing that the absence of key collaborators including Eminem, Jay-Z and Drake on some of Rihanna's biggest songs didn't stop her from playing them.
Overall, however - and with respect to those in the audience who were ecstatic simply to see their heroine live, performing her hits - it felt like a show that ticked all the boxes of a modern concert spectacular without its star really doing much that was actually spectacular.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Posted by sowutH0 at 12:55 PM