RIHANNA'S not best pleased with the weather. "The rain came and tried to f*** it up!" she says of her Irish stadium debut. "F*** the rain!"
Yes, to hell with those dark clouds above! Let's just get our reggae on, shall we?" Because Rihanna likes her reggae.
By the end of the night, however, we'll have come to the conclusion that, when you've got as many solid gold pop and R&B hits under your belt as this chick, you should probably leave the reggae aside.
At least she's happy to be here. Or so she says. "Irish people are crazy," she nods (50,000 fans agree). "That's why I keep coming back. I'm crazy, too!"
Pity it takes so long to see it. For a singer who once performed atop a pink cannon wearing a set of Mickey Mouse ears, Rihanna's first foray into the world of football stadiums is a tad dull. There's no real fun or spectacle here. We have big screens, hard rawk players and lots of fire, but there are very few signs to suggest that the main attraction is enjoying herself.
Could it be that Rihanna – now on her seventh album at the tender age of 25 – believes her presence alone is all it takes to work a crowd these days?
The Barbadian singer's game is that she almost always plays the "naughty" card. She could do it in her sleep. But this is the Aviva Stadium – you can't phone it in here. Disappointingly, she looks ... distracted.
For 30 minutes, we're left waiting for something huge – something recognisable, even, to get the party started. Part fashion show (that red gown dropped a few jaws), part live concert (the girl gets a lot of help with her vocals), there's even a runway to make use of. But it's a slow-moving gig, with a surprisingly poor set-list. Eventually, Rihanna dips into her past and hits us with her trustworthy Umbrella. It's a knockout. Indeed, when Rihanna does remember to crack open the good stuff (Take A Bow, Don't Stop The Music, We Found Love) she can't be beaten. Whether this has more to do with the dancers, musicians and fashion designers is unclear.
Suggestive choreography, barely-there outfits and raunchy set-pieces will, among other things, ensure that the Diamonds World Tour continues to make headlines. But she should head back indoors for the next round. HHHII