THE 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, and I went along…
With reports of the concert being heard up to ten miles away from the venue, Rihanna’s performance at Emirates Old Trafford was certainly one to be remembered. With the typical Manchester rain managing to hold off for the evening, fans of all ages began filling the cricket stadium to be greeted with the support act of DJ Mustard warming the crowd up and setting a perfect, almost festival-like, atmosphere.
Detroit born, Big Sean was next up on the bill, which surprisingly grabbed the audience’s attention more than anticipated, with him speaking to the audience numerous times about his love for weed and how the audience should follow their dreams. The simple yet effective lighting affects teamed with dry ice really set the mood for the hip hop artist’s genre of music.
‘Clique’ and ‘I don’t f*ck with you’ we’re well received tracks, 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 on stage late, the audience were left anticipating how late Rihanna would appear on stage this time, leaving the audience hanging 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 ensemble as she began her set on a stage within the audience with the 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 the songs ‘Woo’, ‘Sex with Me’ and a mashup of the songs ‘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-Rihanna certainly knows how to work a crowd, as all of the 25,000 fans began to scream into frenzy when Drake appeared on stage 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 had appeared on stage- heightening the excitement even further when he performed his hit single, ‘One Dance’.
After their ten 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’s: ‘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 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 to leave the venue as the singer had not performed her expected songs, ‘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.