Billboard is along for the ride on Rihanna‘s 777 Tour, a dizzying seven-day trip around the globe that will bring the “Diamonds” hit-maker to smaller-than-usual venues in Mexico City (Nov. 14th), Toronto (Nov. 15), Stockholm (Nov. 16), Paris (Nov. 17), Berlin (Nov. 18), London (Nov. 19), and NYC (Nov. 20). Follow the trip with The Juice editor Erika Ramirez (@ 3rika and @ Billboard) and check out her diary below.
DAY ONE » 11.14.12 » MEXICO CITY
Entries in Pacific Standard Time
8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. | As the minute to embark on Rihanna’s 777 Tour, courtesy of Def Jam Records and HTC, was quickly approaching on Wednesday (Nov. 14), no one onboard for the seven day, seven-countries tour seemed too sure of what we were about to get ourselves into.
We still don’t, honestly. But thats what’s making this tour, on its first day, entertaining. The anticipation of what’s to come is also what makes Rihanna so captivating.
After a few trips on and off the bus when arriving to a private boarding space at Los Angeles International Airport — due to the busses not communicating with the airport beforehand — 150 journalists from 82 countries and close to 50 fans (four of which Rihanna chose via Twitter two days before the tour started) were ushered through security and directed to board the Delta Airlines jet.
We began to settle ourselves into our seats, looking through the swag bag that was gifted to us by Def Jam Records, and getting familiar with other outlet reps. One question that was heard floating across the plane: “What’s going on?” But from the looks of the past 24 hours, the answer seems to be developing as the experience continues.
About to get on my private plane #PhuckYoG5 #HTC #777tour twitter.com/rihanna/status…
– Rihanna (@rihanna) November 14, 2012
12 p.m. – 6 p.m. | After revealing the venue details to her fans via Twitter, Rihanna joined us on board. “Oh wow. I can’t believe this,” she said in shock, looking at the packed plane. The singer stood close to the entry way, thanked everyone for coming then proceeded to strut down the aisles, saying hello to new and familiar faces.
Photographers swamped the artist as she walked from the middle section of the plane, where media was seated, to her fans, which were closer to the rear of the plane. The Rihanna Navy waited for her with one open arm and the other holding a camera phone, ready to point and shoot.
See More Photos From Rihanna’s Flight
“Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?” Rihanna asked through the intercom, followed by her signature coquettish laugh. “Who’s ready for Mexico? Who’s ready for tequila?”
As laughter erupted, she continued to share one specific item in the goody bag: a necklace with a diamond embedded within. “There’s a string that looks cheap and shitty but it [has] a real diamond! You can never say you didn’t have a diamond in your life,” Rihanna said.
“Shine bright like a diamond!” someone screamed from the back, as if cued.
Mid-flight to Mexico City, Rihanna and her personal assistant, Jennifer Rosales, surprised media when she walked through the aisles yet again, but this time pouring us a glass of either Ace of Spades or Cognac. An unexpected moment, still not surprising, as we all know Rihanna knows how to party. Any time, any where.
PHOTO UPDATES: Rihanna’s 777 Tour
With a drink in most everyone’s hand, Rihanna’s upcoming album, “Unapologetic,” began to blast through the speakers. Hardly anyone stayed in their seats throughout the flight. There’s no one to blame but Rihanna and her addictive, vivacious personality (and the bubbly in most of our cups).
6 p.m. – 12 a.m. | As soon as we stepped off the flight, around 6-6:30 p.m., Rihanna and her camp hopped on a separate bus to hurry to rehearsals. Everyone else took a long, one-and-a-half hour ride from Mexico City airport to the venue, El Plaza Condesa, arriving close to 8:30.
Fans of all stripes, from family dads to tweens, swarmed the venue and quickly took their stance as close to the stage as they could.
DJ Congorock spun a two-hour set of a mix of EDM and hip-hop, doing his best to keep the audience entertained as Rihanna was running behind schedule. “I want to apologize for being late and thank you for being so patient. This is the first time we’ve moved this many people, so I’m sorry,” she later apologized.
But Rihanna made up for the tardiness. The singer, donning a baseball jersey, bicycle shorts and bra, strutted onto the stage at 10:30 before she rocked a 70-minute long show brimming with friskiness. She began her 20-song set with “Cockiness,” grabbing her crotch and laughing after every teasing act. She performed Billboard hits (“Umbrella,” “Where Have You Been”), guest verses ( T.I.‘s “Live Your Life,” Jay-Z‘s “Run This Town,” Kanye West‘s “All of the Lights”), and an intimate acoustic set of slow jams mid-way (“Unfaithful,” “Take A Bow,” “Hate That I Love You”).
She also debuted a new song off “Unapologetic,” titled “Phresh Off the Runway.”
The singer closed the night with her “Talk That Talk” lead single, “We Found Love.” Confetti fell from the sky as she hopped on her bodyguard’s head and walked through the crowd.
thank you Mexico, I love u! #1 down, 6 more to go!!! Country number 2, Canada! Toronto here we come #777tour #HTC
– Rihanna (@rihanna) November 15, 2012
Next Up: Toronto, where Rih will play The Danforth on Thursday night.