Sunday, April 14, 2013 | 3:30 p.m.
A diamond in the rough? Not anymore when referring to Barbadian beauty and Grammy Award winner Rihanna, as she brought her fifth concert tour to Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday night. The “Diamonds” world tour kicked off last month in support of “Unapologetic,” her seventh studio album.
Even with an hour late start, the restless and couture crowd would not be disappointed. Ri Ri, 25, opened the show kneeling, in front of a female monument, in a black sheer cape with short shorts and knee-high leather boots singing one of her new album’s ballads, “Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary,” in a prayer-like pose as the calm before the storm of bright lights and thrilling theatrics of a blockbuster stage production.
The next act included another new song, “Phresh Out the Runway,” where she exhibited plenty of energy to get the crowd going. Rihanna was definitely comfortable with her body, time and time again grabbing her crotch and shaking her derriere, as when she segued into her hit “Birthday Cake” to the thrill of her screaming and cheering fans.
The concert included high-energy dance routines and talented dancers and musicians to assist her in “Talk That Talk” and “Pour It Up.” Her first of five costume changes was preceded by a guitar solo, a nod to her Caribbean music roots, into “You Da One” and “Man Down,” which on the video screen included a mug shot of her and her birth name Robyn Rihanna Fenty.
The nearly 100-minute show continued with “Rude Boy,” “What’s My Name?,” plus, EDM, a dubstep bass line and pyrotechnics with “Jump,” as she donned a multi-colored bustier and hot leather pants. She belted out “Umbrella,” rocked out, proclaiming she’s a rock star in “Rockstar 101,” and finished with more fire, energy and crowd involvement with “What Now.”
The next set include Rihanna in a stunning red halter wrap-around skirt singing mainly ballads, including “Loveeeeee Song,” “Love the Way You Lie (Pt. 2),” “Take a Bow” and “Hate That I Love You.” The final act included her money outfit, a dollar bill-themed halter dress worn with metallic high-top shoes, and began with “We Found Love” and ended with “Where Have You Been.”
Rihanna ran through the crowd and aisles to the delight of her highly engaged fans of all generations. The concert concluded with a strong “Stay” and her sparking “Diamonds” as she wore an outfit that revealed her chest tattoo. Rihanna definitely shined bright like a diamond this night at Mandalay Bay.
Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky, a member of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, opened for Rihanna. Thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery.
Friday night’s setlist: “Love Without Tragedy/Mother Mary,” “Phresh Out the Runway,” “Birthday Cake,” “Talk That Talk,” “Pour It Up,” “Cockiness (Love It),” “Numb,” “You Da One,” “Man Down,” “No Love Allowed,” “Rude Boy” “What’s My Name?,” “Jump,” “Umbrella,” “All of the Lights,” “Rockstar 101,” “What Now,” “Loveeeeeee Song,” “Love the Way You Lie (Pt. 2),” “Take a Bow,” “Hate That I Love You,” “We Found Love,” “S&M,” “Only Girl (In the World),” “Don’t Stop the Music ”and “Where Have You Been.” Encore: “Stay” and “Diamonds.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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