Feature Story

Rihanna: A Halftime Queen Serving, Loewe, Alaïa and the Vibe We All Needed

I was so inspired by Justina Miles’ halftime ASL performance that I didn’t have time to formulate my thoughts on Rihanna. So, we are a bit late, but here we are. I am going to preface this by saying that Rihanna hadn’t done a show in like 5 or 6 years, so she could have read the owner’s manual to a Mr. Coffee and I would have been thrilled. However, let’s get into it.

First the performance itself. There is a lot of talk around a lack of energy vs. Rihanna performing while pregnant. Now, all I know is that I almost took a sick day at work after seeing a spider the size of my hand the night before. So, Rihanna has me hands down on toughness, so I am not going to enter the energy debate. For me Rihanna is a vibe. Seeing her all dripped out in the all red mean mugging at the camera and then taking time to adjust her make – up was amazing. The vibes were there and the dancers were fantastic. I thought the elevated stages were ok, but paid off big for the final track Diamonds where the whole scene looked amazing.

No guest stars was a surprise, but I am not sure how they could have done it with that stage set up. Compared to last year, the stage set up was quite minimal, which I liked for the vibe, but made guest stars almost impossible. The way the levitating stages were set up meant that you needed someone to guest on multiple songs and that would not have worked. Jay Z could have pulled that off…or even Calvin Harris or A$AP Rocky, but it seemed like they wanted to give Rihanna centre stage. I can’t argue with that, because her discography is full of bangers and over 250 million in sales. A guest star would have been fun, but I didn’t miss it.

It seemed like a mix of lip sync and live vocal with obvious backing tracks. Some of the lip sync was…..challenging. This is a risk with halftime shows, but when the vocal was on point it really hit. The sync was noticeable at times, but it’s not a concert as such…so you can get a pass for that. The reason for so much sync in something like this is that you don’t have the buffer to deal with poor sound or technical issues. Having a mix of some live vocal with a safety net of backing tracks on good quality is really the way to go and the vocal sounded good…so I was not too hung up on that. I noticed some gaps, but it didn’t take me out of the show too much.

Now the song list, which was roughly 10 tracks or so in about 13 minutes. Generally, Rihanna moving from track to track was quite tight and done really well. Starting the show with Bitch Better Have My Money was fire and extremely bold for a halftime show. I loved it because it was a total Rihanna power move and set it off from the jump. Umbrella, We Found Love, Work and Only Girl (In the World) were definite standouts and you got enough of each track to get a good groove on. I was disappointed in Rude Boy, which is a song I love, but we only got like the chorus a couple times…I needed more. I also was not a fan of All of the Lights and I thought she could have swapped Lift Me Up in that position to highlight her new stuff. However, Diamonds at the end of the set was a definite showstopper and seeing her alone on the raised stage with that amazing overcoat / dress and all the lights in the crowd was the lasting image of the show. All and all, the show was bookended extremely well with a little room for improvement in the middle.

The final verdict is a top 5 show for me, but not at the heights of Prince’s entire show, which is still number 1 for me, or when Beyoncé did Formation in 2016. Both were iconic moments that will live on for decades. It was exciting to see Rihanna on stage doing her thing and showing how she is a captivating presence. We have yet to see a new record, which most are calling R9 to represent her 9th studio record. She has talked recently about recording stuff and finalising it, so let’s hope it drops soon. THE NAVY NEEDS IT!

I think this show will live on for years as Rihanna fans continue to watch it and enjoy seeing Rihanna on stage. The show has me excited for a new record and looking forward to seeing her on tour in hopefully 2 years. Rihanna showed that she still has the fashion, the vibe and the songs to put out a killer show and that lived up to the hype for me.

0 comments on “Rihanna: A Halftime Queen Serving, Loewe, Alaïa and the Vibe We All Needed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: