The star is on a two-leg, 18 -country tour that watches her rattle off her big hits with on-point choreography, subtleties of catch and schmaltzy piano ballads
Its been just over 11 times since a Barbados-born teenager named Robyn Rihanna Fenty walked into Def Jams midtown Manhattan headquarters for the first time and left with a six-album deal. She made such an impression on kingmakers Jay Z and LA Reid that they didnt allow her to leave the building until fleshing out terms that same day, or so the legend goes.
Since then shes more than gave on that initial hope: when her latest dancehall-flecked crush Work topped the charts earlier this month, it labelled the vocalists 14 th US No 1 one better than Michael Jacksons 13 and more than any act but Mariah Carey( 18) and the Beatles( 20 ).
Which is to say the bulk of Sunday nights achievement at Amalie Arena the second gig of marathon tour spanning 71 evidences in 18 countries in support of her long-delayed eighth album Anti relies on a singles collection as robust as anyone in video games today.
Rihanna has always overcompensated with showmanship and apprehending charisma for drawbacks in technical vocal ability, but shes mapped improvement in that area and showed it in the few digits performed without a patronage racetrack. She opened Sundays gig with the hokey piano ballad Stay, developing hooded like a prizefighter from a passageway at the rear of the floor before slowly climbing on to a stage above the soundboard before about 12,000 shrieking followers, who revolved the home of the NHLs Tampa Bay Lightning into a starscape of camera-phone flashes.
After being transported to the main theatre on a moving connection frozen above the storey, Rihanna gave a rapid-fire harmonize of ways from Anti( Woo, Consideration) and age-old favorites( Pour It Up, Man Down ). Bitch Better Have My Money the net fever dream penned last year by then-2 0-year-old Berlin native Bibi Bourelly understood Riri flanked by six of her 17 dancers in full-blooded empowerment mode.
There were nods to her formidable person of hip-hop peculiarities: a medley of her flying fasten from TIs Live Your Life, Kanye Wests All of the Lights and Jay Zs Run This Town. She stalked the stage from end to end for Umbrella, the 2007 knock that propelled her adept.
The dancehall-ragamuffin mashup Rude Boy reiterated that no one in pas heavyweight split sings about copulation more convincingly, while a cros of Tame Impalas Same Ol Mistakes one of Antis concealed hoards realized her reach out for broader affects. All of it was underscored by impeccable choreography, heavy strobes and predictably on-point wardrobe picks( Giuseppe Zanotti, Manolo Blahnik) by stylist Mel Ottenberg.
So much has been written and conjectured seeing Rihannas personal life that it suffices to say she remains simultaneously transparent and strange the glamour and runway-ready elegance with intimates of self-laceration and shadow that stir her relatable. Yet as the self-styled shot-caller embarks on an tour underwritten by a reported $25 m sponsorship enter into negotiations with Samsung, at front and core is a hit-maker at the meridian of her capabilities, if not her prolificacy.