Fuse has been traveling with Rihanna as part of her 777 Tour, which finds the singer performing seven shows in seven countries in seven days. On Day 3, we head to Stockholm to hang out with people much richer than us.
It took about five seconds of scanning The Berns, the venue for Rihanna's third show on her 777 Tour, to realize how different the crowd would be from Mexico City and Toronto. The Stockholm club's ornate crystal chandeliers were the most visible, but far from only, sign of opulence and wealth. This is where the beautiful people play. Women dressed in skimpy cocktail dresses mingled with guys in button-downs accessorized by expensive watches and champagne bottles. It was the first show we'd been to with a cordoned-off bottle service section, but no worries if you weren't rich enough to buy a private corner of the club; one guy just bought a champagne bottle at the bar and started passing it around to anyone interested. There was a members-only club in the basement. I felt temporarily insecure in well-worn Gap and Pumas, but it subsided.
As attendees entered on a red carpet underneath a giant banner splayed with Rihanna's album title Unapologetic, their first glimpse of the singer was in window displays of faux-diamonds and blow-up posters of her past albums. Unlike previous shows, this was an EVENT; a celebration of Rihanna The Worldwide Brand as much as Rihanna The Singer. Stockholm, one of the most cosmopolitan of European cities, suited her well. (Check out our photo gallery of the show for proof.)
The Unapologetic singer apologized for her two-and-a-half-hour lateness (before the appropriately titled "The Wait Is Over"), but by show three, Ri and her band seemed to have settled into a nice rhythm. New tracks like "Fresh Off the Runway" that were still being worked out in Mexico City were fully formed tonight, while "Stay," the track Rihanna premiered on Saturday Night Live, made its concert debut.
It probably wasn't the point of Rihanna's record label to elicit growing respect for Ri's hustle, but this whirlwind tour has done exactly that. "Did you sleep?" has become the new "Hi" among journalists traveling with the singer. Short answer: No. Long answer: About three hours a night—and all we have to do is write. That Rihanna's shows have only gotten better and more energetic as the tour has progressed says volumes about her work ethic. If Rihanna is feeling the fatigue of the tour, she hides it well, appearing at the Stockholm show's after-party to bartend and party at 3:30 in the morning. The next time that band you like mentions they just drove 14 hours to get to the venue, don't say they're just whining. Buy them a beer.
The Toronto to Stockholm flight also ended (for a few days) the long plane rides until we head back to New York from London late Monday night. It may not sound like much, but the 90-minute flights between Stockholm, Paris, Berlin and London seem like quaint gifts. We continue on.
Total distance traveled: 9,964 miles
Next stop: Paris