Billboard.com's Erika Ramirez is on a continent-hopping seven-day trip with Rihanna and 250 journalists and fans that is taking in concert stops in Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London, and (finally) NYC, where the trip will conclude tomorrow. We catch up with her on Day Five, as the pace -- which has included sleep deprivation, confusion, crazed streaking journalists, time in a detention center and little access to Rihanna -- seems finally to be taking its toll (links previous entries are below the photo, below right) ...
DAY FIVE » 11.18.12 » Rihanna's 777 Tour Diary: Bedlam in Berlin
It happened. Mutiny struck at 4 a.m. today (Nov. 19). We all went mad.
8:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. | We received a wake up call at 7:30 to help us peel our bodies from off the bed and onto the buses by 9 a.m. We traveled from the La Meridien Etoile hotel, went through security at Aéroports de Paris and settled into our assigned seats, which for the majority of us were the same as when we embarked on the tour on Wednesday (Nov. 14).
(That day feels so very far away.)
Drained from mentally creating a blueprint of the 777 Tour the day prior (Nov. 18), we tumbled into nihilism.
DAY ONE: MEXICO CITY
DAY TWO: TORONTO
DAY THREE: STOCKHOLM
DAY FOUR: PARIS
DAY FIVE: BERLIN
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. | Marbles and puzzle pieces were gone and we no longer cared as much. Media kept silent, which with the facial expressions we carried, especially for the man who decided it'd be a good idea to bring out a harmonica as the plane was descending, was worrisome.
Writers were passing along their iPhones opened to the most recent story from Gawker, which has been dutifully updating their readers on the status of the tour, which include many of our tweets and quotes plucked from our 777 tour related articles.
The scales had tipped. This trip had become more about us than the talent we were there to follow. Not only were we becoming real-time memes, but many outsiders looking in were drawing the impression that we've been hunched over, growling at the lack of playdate time with Rihanna. Maybe we're to blame for choosing to channel our fatigue and disappointment -- of an absence of a known motive behind the trip -- through sarcasm.
Alongside us and the fans, the Island Def Jam label reps stood. They took on a heavy task and risk to guide us through seven countries, as safely and smoothy as possible, considering the time restraint they had to put all of this together. Their efforts to involve Rihanna and Roc Nation was not only over-heard of but heartfelt. No direct words were needed especially since we were all inaudible after the third day.
While on the plane, most of us covered ourselves under blankets to sleep but also to have time to ourselves. Usually one would ask the other 'what's wrong?' if our headphones were on, or if were not as talkative. This time around, we respected the temporary isolation. Relating to the need to gather one's thoughts strengthened our camaraderie.
6 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. | It wasn't until we landed in Berlin, Germany when things truly felt heavy and cold. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion had gotten the best of us. In this case, our collective sanity. Learning that we were to eat and wait for the tour's fifth show to start at a once detention facility -- which introduced visitors with a balloon with the word " DIE" on it -- didn't necessarily ease such realization.
Rihanna took the stage at 11:30 p.m., one hour later than scheduled. Fans let out faint boos during the first two songs of her set, presumably because of the star's tardiness. Wearing a mesh black t-shirt with a marijuana leaf printed on, the singer rocked her expected 20-song set, minus "Phresh Off the Runway," with not as much enthusiam as the night prior in Paris.
12- 3:30 a.m. | We -- all of us except Rihanna and her camp who haven't shuttled with us to and from venues since the start of the tour -- traveled towards the Berlin Schonefeld Airport to head out to London for the second-to-last stop on the tour.
4 a.m. | You know what's better than going mad? Doing so in unison, as if planned. After a flight attendant ran to the back of the plane to sit in time for take-off, the Fuse video team began to chant "B-roll," to light-heartedly make fun of the videographers who had just embarked on the trip for the European leg and were taping everything and anything. Out of nowhere, the chants grew louder and significant: "Save. My. Job!" Everyone, starting with media, made their insanity public at the same time. Chants transitioned from "Save our jobs!" "Just one quote!" to "We need headlines!" Obviously, the media had called mutiny.
As the crowd became rowdier, Tim Dormer, a radio shock-jock from Australia, ran naked through the aisles of the middle section, where media sat.
Our laughter and chanting "one more time!" awoke the front of the plane, which included Island Def Jam, Roc Nation and... Rihanna. As the label execs stumbled to the middle section, startled, we hoped that Rihanna would also do so. Unfortunately, although she did indeed hear the craziness according to the Def Jam label exec, she did not make her way towards us.
We tired ourselves out. We also realized that after all that -- chanting, singing and a naked man walking through the aisles -- Rihanna still wasn't going to come out. The disappointment pulled us back down into our seats.
For more on the 777 tour and the plight of the godforsaken journalists check out the Twitter hashtag #freetherihanna150.