Concert Review: Rihanna at American Airlines Arena July 31

Click here to view photos of Rihanna's Miami tour stop.

Rihanna with Ke$ha
American Airlines Arena, Miami
Saturday, July 31, 2010

I normally don't make myself a part of any review, but it's important to know that Saturday night I experience my first ever pop concert. I've seen many live performances, from rock concerts to full-blown raves, mostly in area nightclubs and mid-size venue, but I had never really seen a pop superstar on stage. I was nervous I wasn't going to like it or I would be bored, but I wasn't.

First, let's discuss Ke$ha. I would have really loved to had the opportunity to trash the trashy pop tart (and Crossfade nemesis), but when I arrived she had just wrapped up her set. So it's a bit unfair that I say anything about her performance. Still, kids, if you want to know where Ke$ha stole borrowed her sound from, do yourself a favor and Google Uffie.

Around 9:30 Rihanna took to the stage. Pop concerts are really part concert, part theater. The synopsis of the show is basically that the audience is in Rihanna's dreams. We started out in her nightmares, then were transported to a commercialized world where Rihanna is queen, and finally to a cabaret, with a quick detour to take a look back at her career. The whole thing wrapped up in her sweet dreams before the singer was told to "wake up."

While most would think of a Rihanna concert being more of a R&B and hip-hop affair, the Last Girl on Earth Tour naturally played out as a rock concert. Even her stable of R&B tunes get the rock treatment thanks her live band. During the concert, Rihanna even took some time to play a few instruments including the guitar and drums.

Another impressive instrument was Rihanna's voice. I made it a point to see if she was being aided by a backing track, but the only evidence that she was being helped were the two backup singers. Songs like "Hard," "Take a Bow," and set closer "Umbrella" sounded great live, but it was club staples like "Please Don't Stop the Music" and "Breakin' Dishes" that really got the crowd out of the seats and dancing.

Critic's Notebook

Critic's Bias: I may or may not have a few Rihanna tracks on my iPod.

The Crowd: It consisted of a few groups: the gays, the girls' nights out, the girlfriend who dragged her boyfriends who would rather be home watching ESPN, and the tweens.

Random Notebook Dump: I made the mistake of not eating before the concert, so despite reports questioning the cleanliness at the arena, I had to give in. No sign of food poisoning -- yet.

Set List:

Russian Roulette
Shut Up and Drive
Fire Bomb
Rockstar 101
Rude Boy
Love the Way You Lie (Intro)
Hate That I Love You
Stupid in Love
Te Amo
Pon De Reply (Intro)
Please Don't Stop the Music
Breakin' Dishes
The Glamorous Life (Sheila E cover)
Let Me
Take a Bow

Live Your Life
Run This Town

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