Rihanna has wrapped up BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend with a headline performance which featured a stage design inspired by ancient Egypt, spectacular fireworks and a guest performance from Jay-Z.
Beyonce, Jessie J and Tinie Tempah were among 50,000 fans to watch the Bajan star’s 65-minute set close a weekend of live music at Hackney Marshes.
It climaxed with Jay-Z reciprocating Rihanna’s cameo during his headline slot on Saturday, as he joined her for an encore of Run This Town, Talk That Talk and Umbrella. Speaking from the stage, shortly before finishing, Rihanna said:
“This is history in the making.”
The 24-year-old, wearing a black leather jacket, white T-shirt and cut-off tights, took to the main stage as the sun set against the backdrop of London’s Olympic Park.
The stage set itself was an impressive construction – inspired by ancient Egypt it featured a pyramid-shaped video screen, a glittering sphinx, banners scrawled with hieroglyphics and a rotating gold throne decorated with Rihanna’s name.
She ventured down to the front barrier for the first of many times after the third song to have a crowd member help adjust a battery-pack for her microphone. It was only after playing What’s My Name? and Rude Boy that she seemed to slow things down.
“You know Eminem?” she asked before playing Love The Way You Lie, prompting loud cheers from the crowd. “Well, he’s not here.”
But any disappointment from the crowd was soon extinguished. Returning to the stage for an encore, having watched most of the gig from the stage wings with his wife Beyonce, Jay-Z stepped out on stage wearing a black baseball cap to add his vocals to Run This Town.
Only 24 hours earlier he had opened his own headline performance with the 2009 hit and was joined by Rihanna on the main stage. The 42-year-old rapper stuck around to lend his talents to a couple more tracks.
“This is history…for the first time ever”, said Rihanna before they duetted on Talk That Talk.
With the crowd on a high the pair carried on into Rihanna’s 2007 number one hit Umbrella – hundreds of fan watching joined in waving their own umbrellas in the air.
“Hackney. You guys are making this such a memorable show for me,” she said, clearly moved by the experience. “They told me it was going to be crazy here today but I did not expect it to be like this.”
With Jay-Z once again exiting the stage it was left to Rihanna to bring the curtain down on the weekend of music by playing her global smash We Found Love accompanied by a show-stopping fireworks display.