After only a few days on tour and one actual concert, I'm beginning to regret ever doubting a pop star who is hospitalized with "exhaustion."
Seven concerts in seven countries is a little overambitious to begin with, but add into that the fact that Rihanna's bringing along her entire band and crew and entourage, plus a hundred of us … I mean, it's clear now that this is going to be way more intense than we probably imagined. I was really going to try to attend every show, but I'm only a human girl and not some kind of Mexican-house-music-loving robot.
I bring up Mexican house music because we heard a lot of it. Hey, pregunta, mis amigos: Have you ever heard Mexican house music? Apparently it's like American house music, but with more airhorn and ambulance sound effects.
We arrive early for the show at Mexico City's Plaza Condesa club, which was not ideal, because Rihanna went about an hour an a half late. But at least we got to listen to an hour and a half of my beloved Mexican house music played at bowel-jarring levels. (This might not be the right term for what I was listening to. I don't know if there's a word for it. Casa? That certainly doesn't sound right, does it?)
Anyhow! The show.
The venue was like a nightclub from one of the Blade movies, but instead of vampires, there were lasers and Mexicans. The tour leaders warned us not to eat any ice cubes or vegetables at the venue because they didn't want to risk somebody getting SYMPTOMS of INTESTINAL DISCOMFORT while living on the Rihannairplane. This proved to not be a problem since the only food on hand were nachos. And not like, Mexican nachos. Like, American movie theater-style nachos, coated with what I believe is colloquially known as "wiz." Apparently they dig this in Mexico. A couple media people from the plane declared this unacceptable and went in search of authentic vittles. They returned with pizza that looked kind of gross. I think I'm probably going to lose some weight on this trip!
As for the music itself: the kids on the plane were hell bent on playing Rihanna music the whole way from Los Angeles. I was kind of like, "All right, team, let's pace ourselves here," but they were un-de-freaking-terred and even played it on the shuttle.
Before I was leaving my friend was like, "Don't forget earplugs" and I was like, "I'm not a complete a-hole, I packed earplugs." Anyhow the point is that I forgot earplugs. Also a toothbrush. Whatever, we got overnight kits on the plane and they're pretty comprehensive, toiletry-wise.
The show was—no surprises here—pretty much every single one of her big hits and a couple of new songs from Unapologetic. She danced in her signature listless style in front of that screen-saver background thing she used when she was on SNL, and wore a black leather bra and pants, although she did put on a "Rihanna navy" officer's cap for a bit.
The crowd was unusual. There were some drag queens, some older women and even a baby. So Mexico City seems cool. Somebody brought a Rihanna doll, which would totally wig me out but Rihanna was like, "That's love there!"
Rihanna did apologize for being so late, though. "This is the first time we've moved this many people, so I'm sorry!" she shouted. "THAT'S OK, RIHANNA!" I shouted back. Since I am basically creepily in love with her now after getting Davy-Jones-dazzled by her splendor on the plane.
I know that shows and flights rarely start and end when they're supposed to, but it's clear that this trip is going to be a lot of standing and waiting and having our feet get all swelled up. I have newfound respect for all touring musicians. And also the people who follow them for weeks and weeks. So deadheads, I guess.
Next up: Toronto.