Rihanna / December 3, 2009 / New York City (Hammerstein Ballroom)
Rihanna performed at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom Thursday night (Dec. 3) as part of MySpace's urban music concert series, "The Release," in celebration of her new album, "Rated R." But the festivities were rather short, with Rihanna -- who hit the stage over an hour late -- performing under ten tracks in 30 minutes for her eager fans.
Sponsored by JetBlue, Barbados Tourism, Coca Cola and New York radio station Hot 97 (WQHT) and streamed live on MySpace, the event took off at around 7:30pm EST with Hot 97 DJs Kast One and Enuff on the turntables. A little under two hours later the station's own Angie Martinez took the stage to finally introduce the Barbadian singer.
Sporting a silver leotard with metallic embellishments and black leather gloves, and backed by a six-piece band, Rihanna came on stage with two back-up singers dressed in all black unitards. The stage was decorated with lit-up square boxes of different sizes that simulated TV sets and nude mannequins throughout. The backdrop had a screen displaying paparazzi-like photographs and videos taken of Rihanna.
"New York! MySpace!" Rihanna howled in her island twang as the synth-heavy beat to "Wait Your Turn" came on. Rihanna then took a seat on a plush, white revolving couch for the morbid "Russian Roulette."
She quickly changed gears with the uptempo dance track "Don't Stop The Music," flirtatiously dancing with and fondling a dummy on the left side of the stage -- where Def Jam executives L.A. Reid and DJ Khaled looked over from a balcony. Ryan Leslie was also in attendance.
"New York City! Everybody at home watching on MySpace, we're about to get this party started. Y'all ready to party?" Rihanna asked the wound up crowd, who responded with screeching "Yeah"s. Rihanna then took a seat on one of the makeshift television sets and was accompanied by her two back-up dancers for "Take A Bow" before performing the Chris Brown-penned "Disturbia."
A medley of "So Hard," "Live Your Life" and "Run This Town" were performed next without the songs' featured rappers (Young Jeezy, T.I., Kanye West and Jay-Z, respectively). But first, Rihanna made a costume change -- an unexpected move, considering the set was so brief. She got rid of the metallic pieces on her outfit and rearranged her gear by adding a black sleeveless vest over her silver one-piece.
"New York City, we're going to take it back just a little bit," she announced as the chart-topping "Umbrella," the night's closer, came on with sporadic audience members opening their own umbrellas in honor of the song.
"Thank you so much. I love you!" Rihanna told her fans as she walked off the stage prematurely, leaving most thirsting for more.