(All photos by Kevin Mazur for Fenty Corp; reposted for review purposes with permission.)
On Sunday night, Rihanna brought her ANTI Tour to the sold-out KeyArena, and people could not be more thrilled. You could notice right away the large amounts of people that got dressed up to come to the show, making you wonder why this doesn’t happen all the time around town. The pop sensation that’s been topping the charts since early in her career charmed and hypnotized the audience through the entirety of her show.
It started a little after 9:30 with the giant screen coming down from the ceiling of the main stage showing images of a hooded Rihanna, but at the same time, by the back of the GA floor, another stage was being formed with a mic on top, so we all realized she was going to enter through that area in the back. She came out in a cream-colored robe and started her set with “Stay,” and went on to the chorus “Love the Way You Lie.” Out of nowhere, a glass catwalk came down from the top of the arena and carried her to the middle of the floor as she sang “Woo” and “Sex With Me.” After that, it took her to the main stage, which was all white, where she remained for the rest of the show.
The band and backup singers were submerged beneath for the first couple of songs before they were elevated above, as dancers entertained during songs and throughout the show while RiRi ran in the back to make a few outfit changes. Everything was in perfect visual harmony, as everyone was adorned in cream-colored clothes, and the instruments were all white. Rihanna always changed into something that had the same aesthetic tone. People could argue where the inspiration came from, but I’m a firm believer that it was Star Wars.
After a few songs and dance breaks, she sang a few verses of other performers’ tracks she contributed vocals to, namely “Live Your Life,” (T.I.) “All of the Lights,” (Kanye West) and “Run this Town,” (Jay-Z featuring her and Kanye West) and afterwards gave us a taste of her mega hit “Umbrella,” which I thought should have lasted longer. She has so many hit songs to get through, though, so this was probably the best way to get through most of them. She went on to sing “Man Down,” “Rude Boy,” and her latest radio smash “Work,” which drove the crowd wild.
As she went off for a wardrobe change, the dance part of her show started with the dancers leading us into Drake’s (featuring Rihanna) “Take Care,” and her originals “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been,” while bringing the mood back down with “Needed Me” after. Then she stood and asked everyone to light up the room with their cell phones as “Diamonds” started to form. You could hear the emotion in her voice as she sang all of it and got into it more and more by the end, making it the most memorable moment of the night for me.
She then expressed her gratitude to her band, dancers, and whole team that made this tour possible and shared that they do this so the fans can leave the show and feel that they had the most phenomenal time ever. Her next song was her three-way Kanye and Paul McCartney collaboration “FourFiveSeconds,” which is funny because I heard it last week when Paul was on this very stage. The background of her stage was becoming a huge foam wall as part of the show, which was a pretty cool effect.
She ended her show with “Love on the Brain” and “Kiss It Better,” and I was little surprised that it was shy of 90 minutes for such a huge star. I liked the fact that she stayed on stage for a few minutes after the show ended and signed a few autographs for the fans on the floor. She has been doing this for more than 10 years now, and all throughout the show, she displayed the confidence and talent that comes from all that experience and success.