Fueled by jet lag, too little sleep, insufficient food, airplane liquor bottles, one too many middle-of-the-night flights and frustration at lack of interaction with the singer, the Rihanna 777 Tour group went into revolt mode Sunday night, yelling for the singer to meet journalists and initiating the most meta-music journalism story of the decade. Yes, it redefined #firstworldproblems, but given the growing frustrations expressed about the tour, the mini-uprising improbably became the most intriguing part of the week-long experiment in touring.
Where to begin? Yesterday, during day four of the tour, a growing contingent of journalists and fans began to openly grouse about the tour's less-than-ideal conditions and Rihanna's disappearing act after hanging out with the plane on day one. By the time the group boarded Monday morning's 3 am flight from Berlin to London, the frustrations and tensions between the group and singer began to boil over. "Something is about to go down on this plane," said one writer.
He was right.
Before takeoff, select journalists started yelling randomly for Rihanna to come out, while others began jovially making fun of Ri's planned ad-libs heard during each of her shows. The chorus grew, as chants of "Just one quote!," "Save our jobs!" and "I need a headline!" grew louder and more intense. One writer yelled, "If you won't do anything, we'll create our own story!" while another suggested that the singer "should high five every single person on the plane." Cameras came out to capture both the riotous scene and the increasing probability that Rihanna might come out and address the crowd. (No such luck.) One Australian journalist stripped naked and ran up and down the aisles to thunderous applause because it was just that kind of flight. (Click here to watch our post-streak interview with him.)
The song play-on-words began, with people chanting "S.O.S." and "Where have you been all my life/Are you hiding from us?" A Def Jam publicist emerged from business class to mouth, "What the f-ck is going on?," while one writer repeatedly screamed "Occupy 777!" The fatigue of 200 people transformed and coalesced into semi-serious anger mixed with comical hyperbole.
It's worth noting that to the label's credit, most people's frustrations were directed at the singer herself rather than the organizers. A tour of this magnitude and unprecedented nature is bound to have natural delays, though rumors began that at least one flight was held up for two hours due to Rihanna's lateness.
After 30 minutes, like a group of high school administrators scolding students for protesting about their school lunch, tour organizers implored everyone to get back to their seats and settle down, their faces a mix of disapproval and, "Okay, guys. Fun's over."
When asked if Rihanna was aware of what was happening, a Def Jam publicist simply said, "I don't know" before telling a group of journalists, “Someday, before we die, I’ll tell you my version of the story.”
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