aviva stadium, dublin
Rihanna is a singer, yes, but more than that she's an entertainer – in possession of that elusive X factor.
The Irish leg of her Diamonds World Tour brings with it a miming controversy as she takes to the stage at Dublin's Aviva Stadium, but as anyone who's ever watched a high-octane dance gig before knows, it's near impossible to sing every song live while dancing for two hours, and not get slated for sounding terrible.
Arriving at the Aviva pre-concert, it has just started to rain which means the swarms of teenage girls milling around Dublin 4 wearing lycra, crop tops and booty shorts are starting to panic about their instant tan washing off.
Looking around, it's clear that those attending are more than just fans of Rihanna's music – her pop culture stamp is evident in the fashion on display, the sexually charged party vibe and the apparent body confidence of the thousands of young women in attendance.
Despite being the wrong side of 21 in comparison to the demographic, this reviewer is excitedly anticipating Rihanna's gig.
First impressions are that it's odd to see such a provocative young pop act when it's bright out in a football stadium, but the atmosphere is already buzzing – and when the rain clears up it's electric.
Anyone anticipating a late arrival from the hard-partying diva is surprised when she takes to the stage bang on time. Opening with some of her newer (and more risque) material, she has the crowd eating out of the palm of her spikily manicured hand right away.
Energetic and upbeat and with myriad ass-shaking dance moves, Riri is the real deal – her sexual energy is undeniably genuine, she's not half-heartedly going through the motions to please the crowd. Her sexiness is innate, and makes her performance captivating. At times she sings over a pre-recorded backing track, allowing for some of her more strenuous dance moves.
However, later claims she mimes the entire concert are grossly exaggerated as she clearly belts out some of her slower numbers as live as can be.
More hits follow after a costume change, the crowd chanting along to hits like 'You Da One', 'Rude Boy' and 'What's My Name'.
A more hip-hop tinged segment follows, then her power ballads 'Love The Way You Lie' and 'Take A Bow' give way to a quite frankly hopping finale of her biggest dance hits, the acid tinged 'We Found Love' and club stomper 'Where Have You Been'.
Rihanna returns for her encore of 'Stay' and the eponymous 'Diamonds', shining herself in a sparkling jumpsuit as darkness falls over the Aviva. She's obviously enjoyed herself, the crowd have loved it, and the rain held off.
Energised, the crowd heads out, probably to strut across Dublin's dancefloors in homage.