LOUD Tour: Saskatoon [review]

Her latest single may be called Man Down, but at her concert Sunday night in Saskatoon, Rihanna proved she is the woman on top.
The 23-year-old, Barbados-born singer played to a packed Credit Union Centre in a show that featured more costume changes than Cher and more stage tricks than KISS. The stop was part of her Loud Tour, named after her 2010 album. It certainly was loud and sexy. The concert had everything. Sexy dance moves, sexy costumes, sexy wind machines. Sexy baseball bats? Somehow, yes.

It was an incredibly polished show that was, above all, entertaining. On a stage with four moving, circular screens (not to mention three gargantuan traditional screens) the show went by in a blazing, neon two hours. She emerged from a space pod contraption to perform the first song of the night, Only Girl in the World. With her blue trench and mass of Ronald McDonald-hued curls, she was the picture of pure, undulating confidence from beat one.

The evening was sensory overload, from the lights to the fireworks and the perfectly synchronized dancers to the never-ending outfit switches. Who ever designed her stage deserves huge credit because there was never a dull moment, whether hydraulics were lifting the supernatural beauty to the sky or a giant pink army tank (taken from her video for Hard) spewed steam from its cannons.

A slew of familiar songs — Disturbia, Shut Up and Drive, Man Down — got a huge reaction from her shrieking fans. She wasn’t shy about getting up close and personal with the audience, including one shocked and thrilled fan who found herself directly underneath the grinding singer. A family show it wasn’t (though there were a fair number of children in the audience). Groping and grinding were as much a part of the show as Rihanna’s beautiful singing voice.

By the time she reached costume six (a flowing canary yellow gown), it was time to slow things down. (Cue the wind machines.) A trio of songs — Unfaithful, Hate That I Love You and California King Bed — showed off her singing ability.

There were more fireworks, a little confetti and some insanely short jeans shorts before the night was out. Rihanna wrapped up the show with What’s My Name, Rude Boy, Take a Bow and more.

The night opened with Atlanta singer Cee Lo Green. His 45-minute set featured some big hits — Crazy from his Gnarls Barkley work and Forget You (heard here in all its expletive-ridden glory). But he didn’t seem to connect with the audience. It wasn’t until he broke out the famous F-bomb song that most fans got to their feet. Add persistent and frustrating mic feedback into the mix and it was a pretty uncomfortable performance overall. The not-so-subtle video footage of women eating bananas didn’t help. The only saving grace for the set was Green’s gorgeous voice and a few incredible songs, including Bright Lights Bigger City, with which he opened.

Source: The StarPhoenix

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