Rihanna stages sneak preview of 777 tour show

The Northern Echo: ON STAGE: Rihanna who will perform in Sunderland in June next year ON STAGE: Rihanna who will perform in Sunderland in June next year

SHE arrived on stage an hour later than expected and seemed to have forgotten to finish dressing.

The jacket of her white pyjama suit adorned with hand motifs was wide open, revealing a leopard print bra.

Rihanna was in the house for an intimate gig. Or as intimate as a 2,500-seat venue filled with fans, journalists and VIPs can be, although certainly far and away smaller than the huge arenas and stadia she is used to filling around the world.

Shouting out the names of her sponsors at the start seemed blatant commercialism, but her hour-long set itself was an outstanding preview of next year’s global Diamonds tour that arrives at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light in June.

The secret London gig, which came on the day her new album Unapologetic was released, was back to basics by pop superstar standards.

If you can class “basic” as hiring your own Boeing 777 aircraft, filling it with 150 journalists and fans, then performing in seven cities in seven countries in seven days. Welcome to the 777 tour.

She even found time in the high-flying schedule (think of the Air Miles she is racking up) to switch on the Christmas lights and sing a song for a rumoured £500,000 at the Westfield shopping centre, in Stratford, London, before the gig.

The venue was not revealed until the day, when word was put out to fans that tickets were available for the gig at HMV Forum in Kentish Town.

My secret date with Rihanna came on the penultimate leg of a tour that had already taken in Mexico City, Toronto, Singer Rihanna this week staged a sneak preview of the 777 tour show she will bring to the region next year. Steve Pratt was among the invited guests Stockholm, Paris and Berlin.

The final stop was in New York last night.

She was scheduled to appear at 9pm, although no one believed that would happen. DJ Reflex was left filling in until Rihanna and her musicians took the stage.

Halfway through the hourlong set of old and new songs, the jacket came off and she tied it around her waist. This was no slick, highly choreographed show.

She strolls casually around the stage, rubs herself inappropriately a couple of times, gets a bit angry during a musical mishap and that’s it.

This is Rihanna without any frills. She’s singing to the converted. Many of the crowd in the upstairs seating area would be on their feet if only the security guards didn’t keep making them sit down.

During the early part of the gig, she had a sea of mobile phone cameras pointing at her and recording her. The gig was also being streamed on the internet.

The Stadium of Light is one of only three stadium performances on the UK leg of the Diamonds tour, with early indications showing it could be the biggest concert ever at the venue.

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