"It was great!"
"Are there any songs you'd rather she played?"
"How does the experience compare with what you thought it'd be?"
For some of the fans, the urge to connect with your hero superseded the realities of the event. If Rihanna is flawless, clearly the trip must be too, right? The 777 Tour became as much a lesson in idol worship as media event.
So any Chicken Little predictions that this will have a negative effect on Rihanna's career are short-sighted. Maybe there's some internal future Rihanna boycott I wasn't privy to, but as the present becomes hindsight, the experiential factor for most of the people onboard will outweigh two-hour naps, the daily hours of waiting in airports and tarmacs and Rihanna being present in name only.
Perhaps now is also a good time to put to rest misconceptions and rumors reported as fact:
- No, Rihanna did not have a "panic room" onboard. That was a joke (and a damn funny one) by Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Rosenthal.
- Nobody was trying to sabotage the official 777 Tour documentary. Despite the slight weirdness in perpetually filming people sleeping, her film crew were good dudes. Though I'm curious as to how much of that ill-fated Berlin to London flight makes it into the final cut.
- Australian DJ Tim Dormer, aka the "Rihanna streaker," did not run down the aisles of the plane naked to "protest" her not meeting us. He was having a laugh and, unwittingly, became as well-known as the singer on the trip.
I haven't seen the marketing plans for the 777 Tour, but it's safe to say the heads of Island Def Jam didn't account for the Law of Unintended Consequences. When I spoke to Rihanna's guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, he told me that he thinks this tour will set the new standard for major artists looking to try something different and make a big splash around their album release. Maybe. But there'll be more than a few tweaks needed before a label tries to pull this off again.
Would I do this exact same trip again knowing what I know now under the same conditions? Not on your life. Still, as non-familial bonding experiences get less frequent the older you get, the idea of adult summer camp-cum-prison for a week remains perversely appealing.
Incidentally, Unapologetic is predicted to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week. Guess who the big winner is?
Total distance traveled: 15,718 miles
Rihanna Apologizes to Press and Fans on 777 Tour - Day 6 Update
Rihanna Live From London: 13 Smokin' Photos
Rihanna 777 Tour Group "Revolts" Against Singer - Day 5 Update
Rihanna Destroys in Berlin: 12 Exclusive Photos
Rihanna Has a Few Difficulties, Technical and Otherwise, in Paris - Day 4 Update
Rihanna Performs for the 1 Percent in Stockholm - Day 3 Update
Yes, Rihanna Waits at Baggage Just Like Everyone Else - Day 2 Update
"Who's Ready for Tequila?!": Rihanna Bartends Flight to Mexico - Day 1 Update