July 5 at Roskilde Festival, Orange Stage
After a half hour delay in the chilly evening air, R&B superstar Rihanna finally entered the largest and most colourful stage of Roskilde Festival: Orange. For the packed house, it was well worth the long cold wait. The energy from the audience spread to the tip of their collective toes and soon made everyone forget about weather, hygiene (or the lack therefore) or the controversy surrounding festival organisers giving Rihanna a large slice of the overall funding pie.
Given that Roskilde Festival is known for packing its schedule with rock, hip-hop and electronic music, the Barbadian beauty’s name looked a bit misplaced at the top of the line-up. But you wouldn't have known it from the performance – Rihanna looked as comfortable as ever and fit right in when she had well over half the festival's overall audience shining in front of her.
The 25-year-old star had a surprisingly astonishing and raw voice contrary to rumours that she was an overproduced pop tart. She started off the concert with ‘Talk That Talk’ and ‘Birthday Cake’ from her 2011 album Talk That Talk. The more updated fans were pleased to hear her sing ‘Pour It Up’ from her seventh and most recent album, 2012's Unapologetic.
After a guitar solo, a time travel took the audience back through ‘Man Down’ and ‘What’s My Name?’ off Loud, ‘Rude Boy’ off Rated R and all the way back to the wet and muddy year of 2007 when Rihanna transformed from her innocent good girl image to a more tough and bad girl style when she let Jay-Z under her ‘Umbrella’.
It is no secret that Rihanna is also known for her gorgeous body and a booty that is often seen shaking, so when she turned up in what looked like a robe and white sneakers, it was probably not the sight many had in mind. There was no twerking and no lap dance (which she gave a fan at a concert earlier this year) to much disappointment of the drooling men. But there was a great stage show with fire, lasers, lights and dancers.
Everywhere in the crowd, people – ok, mostly girls – were screaming “RIHANNA!”, jumping and even crying. When asked why she was crying, one shivering red-eyed girl stuttered: “Because I love Rihanna to bits”.
After rocking the big Orange stage for an hour and a half with old and new songs including the hits ‘S&M’, ‘Only Girl’ and the near nostalgic ‘Don’t Stop the Music’, Rihanna disappeared but soon returned for two encores: ‘Stay’ and ‘Diamonds’, both from Unapologetic. The world-famous singer could then leave the stage with a smile on her face, knowing that she can also win over a sceptical festival crowd.
She was very down to earth and looked like she belonged at a festival. Despite the seemingly odd fit, Rihanna suited Roskilde. Or maybe it suited her. Either way it was a delicious cocktail which left this reviewer wanting another sip.