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 6, our final flight from London to New York, the singer apologized to press and fans and tried to explain her absence.
As we reported yesterday, the Rihanna 777 Tour took a left turn Sunday night when the journalists covering the seven-day, seven-show, seven-country staged a quasi-revolt over lack of access to the singer, including one Australian reporter who streaked around the Boeing 777 transporting journalists and select fans. "We were looking for a story and we turned out to be the story," said Fuse host Esteban Serrano. Now the question was: would anything change?
To be fair, many of the journalists on the trip knew going in that they weren't getting any one-on-one time with the singer. What frustrated many on the trip—fans included—was the lack of any sort of interaction, especially hinted at by the singer herself. "We are turning this jumbo jet into our tour bus," Rihanna said in a release before the tour. "We're practically living on this thing for a week: sleeping, partying, all together. Me, my fans, the press...it's going to be a wild ride. I wanted it to be a rock n' roll adventure, and I think when it's over it will be the coolest thing I've ever done."
I spoke to a few members of her fan club, the Rihanna Navy, last night before takeoff, who said a label rep had told them there would be a "surprise" on the plane. Journalists were told to get their cameras ready. The intimation seemed obvious. The actual surprise? Rihanna's backing band playing acoustic covers of Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away," Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'," Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" and Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" in the front of the press area. "If the plane crashes, f-ck it," one member said, deep into Bon Jovi. Okay, then.
With 30 minutes until landing, Rihanna herself emerged to field select questions from the press. A few journalists joked about staging a media blackout, imagining a scenario where Rihanna comes out and is shunned in favor of sleep. This did not happen. The singer answered probing questions like, "Will you be playing Ireland next year?," before later explaining her absence on the tour and apologizing to journalists. "I know you guys got barely any dirt," said Rihanna. "But I had to be good. I still sound like sh-t. It's impossible to spend time with everybody, and I'm sorry I didn't. I have to pay attention to myself this time. Usually, I just go, go, go and I'll be back here partying balls out for y'all. But I had to pay attention and take care of my health since I'm on a plane all the time."
To many on the plane, it felt too little too late as eyerolls and groans replaced last week's enthusiasm. A week ago, she was the singer ready to hang with fans. Now she was the dad who missed all his son's little league games and showed up after the championship with ice cream.
Towards the end of the impromptu press conference, the Rihanna Navy, situated in the cabin behind press, began yelling, "Fans! Fans! Fans! Fans!" It was a valiant effort to get Rihanna to acknowledge them, perhaps even thank them for coming. But it was time to land and the singer promptly returned to her seat.
Total distance traveled: 12,253 miles
Next stop: New York City
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