Rihanna and A$AP Rocky at Xcel Energy Center, 3/24/13
|Photo by Tony Nelson|
With A$AP Rocky
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Does naming an album Unapologetic mean you never have to say you're sorry? Pop and R&B megastar Rihanna hit the stage at Xcel a little late (9:50 p.m. or so), but that wasn't the problem. The 10,000 devoted fans from around the upper Midwest would've waited much longer. The singer often abbreviated herself -- in song length and effort. She performed "Rockstar 101," but should retake the course herself.
Slideshow: Rihanna at Xcel Energy Center, 3/24/13
Rihanna and Cee Lo Green at Xcel Energy Center, 6/16/11
It's understood that Barbados-bred Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a physically stunning human. When not fluttering shut, her eyes were conduits of emotion that depicted the range of pleasure and sorrow of everyone at the Xcel. Even if few spoken words escaped them, her purple-painted lips said even more with the occasional smile -- especially when accompanied by a long-armed wave. Her inked-up limbs and torso, her flowing hair with one side shaved close, her gyrating pelvis, her swaggering gait, her bold costuming, and sometimes her voice were all beyond the audience's grasp. They screamed for more, they begged, they wept, and though most would've been pleased to just say they'd been in a room with Rihanna for a couple hours, they still deserved more from someone who at brief moments took command of all her faculties.
|Photo by Tony Nelson|
The choice of Rocky for an opener gave the night a blunt, drugged-out feel, and much of Rihanna's performance continued in that vein. Both she and Rocky have pulled out of dates on this tour so far due to illness, and the bug appeared to be still affecting her voice and willingness to move. She appeared at the front of the stage in a long black robe for the second half of the confessional "Love Without Tragedy/ Mother Mary." Then, the stage opened up to reveal a team of dancers, and a full band, including the thrashing former Extreme axeman Nuno Bettencourt.
In dark boots that were nearly the length of her legs, Rihanna began moving to the corners of her stage. With a flirtatious "Talk That Talk" being the notable exception, the songs in the first segment were dark, slow, and exuded coldness. "Pour It Up" is essentially a sung version of one of A$AP's melodramatic tales of excess, and it was one of plenty of moments where Rih Rih let her midsection and her groping hands do the talking instead of her face.
|Photos by Tony Nelson|