BARBADIAN singer, Rihanna, returned to Manchester on June 29 with her ‘ANTI’ world tour in support of her eighth studio album, ‘ANTI’ at Emirates Old Trafford. Quays News entertainment reporter Abi White went to see if the vocalist really would shine bright like a diamond…
With reports of the concert being heard up to 10 miles away from the venue, Rihanna’s performance at Emirates Old Trafford was certainly one to be remembered.
With the typical Manchester rain somehow holding off for the evening, fans of all ages filled the cricket stadium to be greeted with support act DJ Mustard, who warmed the crowd up and created a near perfect, almost festival-like, atmosphere.
Detroit-born, Big Sean was next up on the star-studded bill, which surprisingly grabbed the audience’s attention more than anticipated, with him interacting with the audience numerous times about how the audience should follow their dreams.
The simple, yet effective, lighting effects, along with a whirl of dry ice, really established the mood for the hip-hop artist’s genre of music.
‘Clique’ and ‘I Don’t F**k With You’ were well received, with audience members who may have thought they were ignorant to the artist’s music finding themselves singing along to the tracks.
Infamously known for arriving late on stage, the audience were left wondering how late Rihanna would appear this time.
She left the audience in agony for an extra 45 minutes before she appeared at around 9.15pm.
Emerging in an outfit resembling a white sack, Rihanna still managed to pull off this interesting ensemble as she began her set on a stage within the audience with two heartfelt tracks, ‘Stay’ and ‘Love the way you Lie (Part 2)’.
The innocence was then stripped from the performance along with the white hooded cape as she proceeded to perform ‘Woo’, ‘Sex with Me’ and a mashup of ‘Birthday Cake/ Pour it Up/Numb’– all whilst moving over the audience in a glass box with some extremely risqué cavorting.
The Bajan star then continued her performance on the main stage, which was certainly a stripped-down backdrop for such a large concert. Performing with a live band, backing singers and dancers, Rihanna more than made up for the lack of fuss on stage with her fascinating onstage charisma and constant costume changes.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was when she sent all of the 25,000 fans into a screaming frenzy as she brought out her close friend and rap icon Drake to perform ‘Work’ with the singer, who was now shimmering in a glitzy playsuit.
Twerking their way through the song, the audience couldn’t quite believe that Drizzy, as Drake is known, had appeared on stage – heightening the excitement even further when he performed his hit single, ‘One Dance’.
After their 10 minute collaboration, the ultimate party section of the set was performed, with ‘Where Have You Been’ and the Calvin Harris dance hit ‘We Found Love’, which was performed as a mashup with another of Calvin Harris’ hit tracks: ‘How Deep is your Love.’
Despite having released eight studio albums, Rihanna’s set still included a variety of songs from across all albums and a cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Same Ol’ Mistakes’. With the set drawing to a close, Rihanna had two more songs left to play.
The set transitioned into the well-known track ‘Diamonds’, with audience members across the stadium holding up their phone torches in the air, creating a sea of ‘Diamonds in the sky’ before ending her set with ‘Love on the Brain’ in a khaki ensemble.
Even after the credits were rolling, fans were adamant not to leave the venue as the singer had yet to perform hit tracks, ‘Four Five Seconds’ and ‘Kiss it Better’.
However, as the lights filled the stadium, fans realised it was the end of the concert.
Although a slightly disappointing finish with no encore, Rihanna delivered a brilliant performance through every song both vocally and onstage charisma.
By Abi White