Make us your home page
Instagram

Rihanna brings the sin, and a touch of class, in her Tampa Bay Times Forum show

Rihanna gives close to 14,000 fans a show full of energy on Friday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Rihanna gives close to 14,000 fans a show full of energy on Friday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

TAMPA

Robyn Rihanna Fenty didn't take the stage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum until 10:13 p.m. Friday. And when she did, the Barbadian troublemaker was dressed in a monkish cloak, on her knees singing Mother Mary, praying for forgiveness. Maybe for coming on so late? More likely for the sins she was about to commit over the next two hours.

It didn't take long for RiRi to shed the cloak and further attempt at atonement. After all, it's hard to repent in thigh-high boots. Emphasis on the thigh.

The 25-year-old pop heavyweight — the biggest-selling digital artist of all time, with some 120 million singles sold worldwide — does whatever she wants, from dating Chris "Bad News" Brown to sharing her love of weed with the online world to canceling a bunch of shows on her Diamonds World Tour, including a couple of stops earlier this week.

So it was no surprise that her show was an endlessly randy, slightly dangerous affair, full of f-bombs and erupting pyro and the sort of wardrobe and gyrations that'll make you a Saturday night star at Mons Venus.

In front of 13,490 fans — most of whom were young women in perilous heels — the gorgeous singer smiled big and coolly worked through most of her new album Unapologetic, plus a healthy smattering of chart-topping hits.

Backed by a six-piece band (including guitar whiz Nuno Bettencourt, from Boston rock band Extreme) and a host of dancers, Rihanna purred (Birthday Cake) and rapped (Phresh Out the Runway) and reggae-toasted (You da One) into a live mike — although she was obviously helped by prerecorded tracks as well.

When you come to a Rihanna show, you want the full bawdy boat, and despite the fact she's still not a stellar performer, there was enough energy coming from the Greco-Roman stage with its three tiers of mobile video screens to make this night a winner. She also went through dozens of, ahem, entertaining costume changes, from leather dominatrix gear to a Day-Glo jumpsuit thingie to a red skirt-and-top combo for an Eminem-less version of Love the Way You Lie.

Rihanna has a ridiculous amount of hits, so some she gave a complete treatment (Umbrella), others she abbreviated for lack of a partner (the Drake-less What's My Name?), and others were medley'd together (S&M/Only Girl (In the World)/Don't Stop the Music/S.O.S.).

And then there was downright rave-up We Found Love, during which she almost caused a riot when she jumped into the crowd for a dance-off, at one point playfully grabbing a fan's smartphone and taking the greatest "selfie" of all time.

As the clock closed in on midnight, Rihanna encored with the spare, lovely new ballad Stay and then the feel-good, if ubiquitous, Diamonds. She started and ended her show with clean, composed, classy grace. So is she an angel or a devil? Maybe we love her because Rihanna, like the rest of us, is a little bit of both.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Rihanna brings the sin, and a touch of class, in her Tampa Bay Times Forum show 04/19/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 20, 2013 12:46am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2018 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Brooksville Raid returns with full slate of Civil War-era events

    Events

    SPRING HILL — History calls it a "skirmish" that included 240 Union soldiers who pillaged through Hernando County in July 1864, destroying farmland and homes. An advanced guard of 10 men overcame the Confederates, capturing seven "home guard" men and nine horses. A brief fight led to the slight wounding of a Union …

  2. Local craft beer of the week: Electric Wizard IPA from 7venth Sun Brewery

    Bars & Spirits

    The past six months have been kind to Dunedin's 7venth Sun Brewery. In August, the brewery's long-awaited Tampa expansion finally happened, with its much larger Seminole Heights facility and tasting room opening in a town eager to try its range of ultra-fresh IPAs and exotic, foeder-fermented brews.

  3. Bar review: Florida spirits and brews at the newest Local Draught House in Tampa

    Bars & Spirits

    I don't consider myself "old" — though I have gotten into a bad habit of informing door people insistent on checking my ID that I'm halfway to 70. But I'm frequently made aware of how far removed my lifestyle is from that of my 20s.

  4. Things to Do in Pasco and Hernando counties starting Jan. 19

    Events

    Festivals

    Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo and Rodeo: The three-day event will be from 4 to 10 p.m. Jan. 19, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jan. 20 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 21 at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Airport, 2495 Broad St., south of Brooksville. Features the 2018 Brooksville Rodeo with the Professional …

  5. Inside American Stage's plan to offer free or reduced admission to young people

    Stage

    ST. PETERSBURG

    An air compressor did most of the talking as the small crew stapled down flooring to the stage. A master carpenter kept unskilled but eager workers on track, telling them where to line up edges. An astringent smell of glue permeated the set of A Raisin in the Sun, opening Jan. 26 at American …