Monday, May 11, 2009

Tiny Dancer

This was a review of Rihanna's first concert in Dublin in Spring 2007. This was before Umbrella had been released and looking back now it's interesting to remember seeing a huge star at the beginning of their career. The Tiny Dancer heading was a nod to both her height and the Elton John song, which as of today in May 2009 is back in the charts.

Last night I went to see The Pussycat Cats in concert. A big reason to see them was the fact that Rihanna was their support or rather, co-headliner. Unfaithful was one of my favourite songs of 2006. Before I went to see the concert I was going to just include a paragraph on Rihanna in an overall review but Rihanna is in her own right is a true proper star. Last year she won 4 Billboard music awards including Female Artist of the Year. When you consider the other 2 nominees were Beyonce and Mary J. Blige, both who had a successful year, this was a particularly impressive win. The worst thing about support artists is that they get the skimpiest set, usually preformed in front of the curtain (in the case of Dublin's The Point, a sheet). Rihanna's set was v cheap looking, a rather ugly metal bed headboard style thing but that didn't matter. She had six dancers, 4 female straight out of a Chicago audition and two guys who have watched a lot of Usher videos. A retro styled DJ  mixed music in the corner of the stage. On a Pussycat/ Rihanna tour there are no twenty piece orchestra or any musical instruments at all.
Her opening song was Pon de Replay. It was pure r'n'b/ pop fabness. Rihanna doesn't have a lot of hits to date, but those, bar We Ride, are very fine. Dressed in a "that dress leaves nothing to the imagination" black and white outfit, you quickly realise that Rihanna's stage routine works with a combination of three factors. The first is her dancing. Performing to a backing track throughout, often singing over her own vocals, she therefore has the time and energy to lead the dance routines of her backing matches and in true r'n'b potential future Diva style shows that she is the star. The second is, bluntly, how she looks, that confidence she has. The short dress is worn on purpose. Rihanna wiggles and bumps and grinds throughout. But this is no silly Ho in so many Hip Hop male superstar videos. Her confidence matches her sensuality for the entire performance. The third, and what I think will make her persist as a star is the look in her eyes. Bold, cocksure, very beautiful. I have no time for gay men who cannot see or regard female beauty and the power of it. Rihanna's gaze has the ability to hold the audience in her hand. Rihanna has already starred in last year's Bring it On: All or nothing, another sequel to a Kirsten Dunst teen dance movie. I have no idea what her acting abilities are like in this but I'm sure with a proper director Rihanna could be a future movie star. Unfaithful is sung at the front of the stage, dancer less thankfully, wearing a sparkly Kylie like dress. The, as you can expect mostly v young audience, sing along. I commented to my friend the irony of mere children knowing the words of a song about infidelity. S.O.S is the song that most people want to hear. The dance routine to it is flawless and the music loud and a club like atmosphere is recreated in Dublin's most popular haybarn. A third costume change, black Christina like swimsuits, alas the male Ushers preferred the Slim Shady range. The show is not perfect overall. Some songs I have forgotten already but I only have 3 of the singles to date. During an overlong costume change her dancers dance to recent hits from Nelly Furtado, Shakira and Justin. I have never seen a star use the songs of whom are her pop competitors to entertain the crowds, I felt a remix or instrumental version of one of her songs would have been better. When she finally exited and her part of the show was over, for a moment I felt that was it, almost forgetting the main act were yet to appear. I would love to see her with a full band or Unfaithful sung in a concert hall like setting. Tiny in person, seeing Rihanna I realised it once again gave me a buzz to hear a song I love performed here in Dublin.

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