Concert Review: Rihanna

Mandalay Bay Events Center, April 12

I’m quite fond of Rihanna when she’s on the red carpet. She’s bold. A good girl gone bad who oozes sex—both the kitten kind and the dirty kind. But that’s all from the neck down. I don’t always love her from the neck up, because she looks, well, mean. A couture dress is not often best paired with the icy, angry, standoffish gaze for which she has become known.

But since we do share the same birthday, I keep giving her another chance. I wasn’t too fond of her this time when, at an hour after her posted set time, she had still not taken the stage. But in true form, once she finally appeared in head-to-toe Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, all was forgiven. In concert she’s far more likable, approachable and fun than what I expected. She shines—bright like that diamond she sings about, or perhaps more like a custom Lanvin gown, which was part of her arsenal of elaborate costumes.

And then there’s the music. Nothing too surprising there. A rundown of her hits with standouts including “Love the Way You Lie,” “Rude Boy” and “All of the Lights” coming in five songs sets broken up by costume changes. The music is infectious and creeps into your conscience, much like her style.

If the audience was any indicator, her cultural reach extends far beyond just music. Girls of all ages wore graphic leggings and bum-revealing short-shorts and had their heads half shaved in homage to the Barbadian beauty. Their fashions most certainly bore the Forever 21 tag and not Jeremy Scott. Remember, in the dark you can’t see shiny cars or sparkling white leather Christian Louboutin boots. ★★★★☆