Rihanna Secret Gig @ O2 Brixton Academy

Star Showcases New Material To Select Crowd Of Fans And V.I.P's

Dropout UK were in attendance at the Secret Rihanna gig last night in association with our friends over at Nokia. The Press Release indicated that it was an entirely free event for lucky fans and industry parties ,so you can imagine the visible excitement on the 4,000 plus attendees who didn't need to come out of pocket to a gig that would of cost no less than £40 a head.

We took our seat on the balcony in anticipation for an artist who had probably been given more publication columns than any other this year, predominantly based on the incident between her and then boyfriend Chris Brown. It was great to see the same fan/media buzz around RiRi for her artistry as opposed to her private life. We had been given a listen to her latest album Rated-R (released on the 23rd November) a few days ago, and were highly impressed. Definitely at least 5 potential number ones in the mix. It was great to see how she conveyed these hits at a live performance.

The fans were herded in at just before 8pm whilst the big screens, and stage props were set-up, which amped up crowd excitement even more as the introduction to her Rated-R track Madhouse blasted through the huge speakers. Within a minute a stud-clad and masked Rihanna appeared from underneath the stage. She looked incredible wearing her trademark 'swim-suit with a twist...or two'. She than went straight into Wait Your Turn, followed by Russian Roulette which she performed seated on a royal, white chair. Off the back i must say that vocal ability and swagger in her performances were incredible. She seemed in her element, afraid of nothing. She continued to go for those sporadic high notes, whilst gradually pulling the audience (including myself) further and further away from our seats. At one point i nearly fell off the balcony! Due to the allocated slot of 45 minutes, there was little time for interludes and structured fan interaction. She was here to give the audience what they wanted. No Nonsense Hits and she was doing exactly what it said on the tin!

She brought out Young Jeezy to perform new track Hard, an upbeat, heavy on the bass, club sounding track that'll make its rounds to all DJ's shortly.

The remainder of her set was filled with some of her old hit including sweet execution of Take A Bow, whilst Don't Stop The Music got the crowd jumping like we were in an Ibiza nightclub. Disturbia was performed with a much sharper sound also, as if she wanted the audience to get a little more engaged.

She did give us a little breather when she left the stage for a quick costume change, before she delivered the verse from the Billboard number one duet on currently incarcerated rapper T.I's song Live Your Life. Before you could clap in appreciation she was joined on stage by the man himself Jay-Z, who is more of a Londoner these days then a Tottenham fan! for a scorching performance of recent UK number one Run This Town. The crowd went totally ballistic. At that point i was pretty pleased we were not on the ground!

Following that, it was time for the final song which was of course the international monster "Umbrella”. H.O.V.A remained onstage to take care of the opening bars, before leaving to allow Rihanna to end the awesome night.

Over this 45 minute set Rihanna proved to the audience and all those that viewed the concert via internet broadcast provided by Nokia, that she was a performer not to be messed with. She sounded strong, looked amazing, and was clearly confident about her current album, which she has every right to be.

The wait is most definitely over.

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