REVIEW: Barbadian star declared love for the capital city at her second Twickenham show…
Last night (16th June) Rihanna performed her second show at Twickenham Stadium on the UK leg of her Diamonds world tour, which started in Cardiff last week. She now heads to Birmingham, Sunderland and Ireland before continuing onto Europe in almost back-to-back dates until the end of July, and doesn’t conclude the tour until November. We’re exhausted just reading her tour schedule.
Feeling: As sunshine broke in London in the late afternoon, the crowd were buzzing and ready to party. First up were support acts GTA and David Guetta. GTA are Miami-bred duo Matt Toth and Julio Mejia who self-describe their sound as “building beats that can set off any kind of dance floor.” They got the crowd going with an intense array of genre-spanning tunes ranging from Crookers to House Of Pain all the way to mashing up Kanye West's Mercy with Bingo Players' Get Up (Rattle) and of course their own productions like Booty Bounce. These guys know how to get a party going.
Next up David Guetta took the stage all big arm claps and exaggerated lunges, telling the crowd “this is my favourite place when it’s sunny.” Guetta thanked the audience for being part of the show, revealing he discovered house music in the UK, before playing a wide selection of remixed crowd-pleasers. Locked Out Of Heaven, as well as his own massive hits When Love Takes Over, Play Hard and Titanium, had everyone singing and pumping their arms feverishly in the air.
When Rihanna finally took to the stage the stadium went into a frenzy, lapping up every inch of the Bajan beauty as she gyrated and thrusted and demonstrated why she is the reigning queen of sex appeal.
The Look: The stage was fairly sparse, with a few platforms, some decorative white pillars and a couple of giant chandeliers dropping down at intervals to add some signature bling toward the start of RiRi’s set. The rest of the mood was created by red-hot lighting, lasers, first bursts and after her encore, a fireworks display that sent the night off with wow-factor.
Rihanna opened her show with Phresh Off The Runway in ghetto fabulous black-and-bling butt-skimming hotpants, a bra-top and thigh-high leather boots. Her second look was a more demure white jeans and black t-shirt combo set off with funky shades while monochrome graphics swirled on screen behind her - very spring/summer 2013. This was followed by a wet-look black and white basque with fiery red and yellow pants, before a sultry red floor-length number (thigh high split obligatory), and finally the return of lots of bling for her finale.
Everyone’s been talking about her crotch tapping, slapping and stroking which seems to be the signature move of the Diamonds tour. It's provocative no doubt, and the crowd initially seemed to look at each other and laugh awkwardly at her teasing, but by the night’s end, grown men were shaking and thrusting their hips to RiRi lyrics. The middle-aged couple sat behind us didn’t crack a smile all night. They must have been horrified.
Banter/Special Guests: Rihanna opened the show calling London her second home after Barbados (apparently not even LA makes the cut for second place) which was greeted with a roar from her legions, and RiRi shared that her family were in the audience for a second night running, sweetly wishing her “Daddy” Happy Father’s Day. We can only imagine what ‘Daddy’ thought when she shouted “what the f*ck” to the masses as she intro’d her set. At one point, Rihanna jumped off stage and walked along the front row to get up close with fans, and admittedly, we totally bought into the authenticity of her enthusiasm.
Tunes: In her four-part set, she brought some Caribbean heat to a breezy London summer’s day, taking us on a journey through some of her biggest hits including Talk That Talk, Umbrella, Only Girl, We Found Love, S&M and Where Have You Been, before concluding with a classy encore of Stay and Diamonds. Performing a sweet ballad medley in the middle of her set including 2007 hit Hate That I Love You, Rihanna reminded fans of her eight-year legacy in the music biz, and that this good girl has just got bigger and badder.
Sweat Factor: Metaphorically we were glistening, in a hot-under-the-collar sort of way. It’s nigh-on impossible to watch Riri thrust, pole dance on a mike stand and booty shake without wanting to get involved.
Summary: We were surprised to see quite a few spare seats in the supposedly sell-out gig, and the back-to-back ballad section mid-show seemed to temper the party mood a bit. But Rihanna brought a reggae-fuelled celebration to London with hot and heavy attitude, and made us adore her even more. RiRi, you’re welcome in our home any time.