Rihanna is unquestionably one of the most dynamic powerhouses in pop music, and she brought her badassery to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on the ANTI World Tour on Wednesday night (Mar. 30). From the opening song all the way to the onstage goodbye, the singer effortlessly showed why she's such a force.
But it wasn't any ol' Rihanna concert! The night was filled with unexpected events that embodied the singular nature of Rihanna's ANTI album era. Here's our roundup of the 12 most ANTI moments from the artist's BK stop.
1. "Stay" as the concert opener: Rihanna has kicked off her concerts with a downtempo track in the past ("Mother Mary" for 2013's Diamonds World Tour), but the decision to choose Unapologetic's "Stay"—which is a very slow ballad—is totally out of left field.
2. The subdued outfit choices: Instead of rocking flashy bralettes or tons of jewels, the style team behind the singer opted for more sophisticated looks with a brown/black palette that still held a bit of edge. It was a spot-on parallel to the confident grown-woman headspace Rihanna is in right now.
3. Minimal fan interaction: Save for a few "Ayo, Brooklyn!" shoutouts and a brief chat in the middle of the concert, the night flew by. Rih ripped through all the songs, only taking breaks to change outfits or for her dancers to show off their moves (which included a killer vogueing segment).
4. The setlist weighs heavy in the urban category: This was a surprising choice, since a large majority of Rihanna's fans love her for the mainstream singles that lean towards pop. But the singer's set mainly focused on R&B—not something most would expect from one of the biggest pop stars in the world.
5. The new song arrangements: From the fast-paced dancehall remix of "Man Down" to the dance fusion of Calvin Harris' "How Deep is Your Love" with Talk That Talk's "We Found Love," the band refreshed Rihanna's popular songs in a way that kept the audience on its toes.
6. Rihanna calls out the piracy trend: In her usual no-phucks-given attitude, Rih asked the audience in reference to TIDAL's messy ANTI download: "Who stole this shit from the Internet?"
7. Rihanna hitting her dab: The singer loves to keep up with new dances (her sturdy Milly Rock during "Bitch Better Have My Money" is commendable), but hitting the dab and nae nae in the middle of "Kiss it Better" while smiling made for a fun moment.
8. Um, where's "What's My Name?" Rihanna performed all her Drake-featuring hits like "Take Care" and "Work," but a typical setlist mainstay was notably absent. "What's My Name" is in my Top 5 favorite songs from the singers, so it was a bummer not being able to see it live.
9. Rihanna's shoutout to Brooklyn hood staples: The singer revealed she used to spend a lot of her summers in the NYC borough with family members. It was funny to see the contrast between black people nodding in approval and the gentrified folk looking confused when she named shops like Kings Plaza, Cookie and Rainbow.
10. Her heavy Bajan accent: Rihanna has been in the pop game for years, but she still proudly holds on to her island roots. Her thick Bajan accent while singing and talking rang through the audience as a reminder that she will probably never become fully Americanized.
11. "Needed Me" was a shocking highlight: The cocky and savage female anthem is a favorite among fans, yet I wasn't sure how its mellow production would translate in a large arena. But as the bass stomped and rattled through the speakers, I now see why her team chose it as the next single from ANTI.
12. The leather durag: Rihanna is no doubt an unapologetic black girl, from rocking a doobie wrap at the 2013 AMAs to showing off her nipples at any given time. She continued that fearlessness by donning a black man's staple for when he wants to get his waves on swim—a floor-length leather durag.