Updated: 03/26/2013 3:43 PM KSTP.com By: Sarina Long
Grim, dark, broken-hearted, lost. Rihanna's seventh album, "Unapologetic" seems like a cry for help. The 25-year-old pop diva is known for her upbeat hits and high energy chart toppers of the past such as "S.O.S." "Disturbia" and "Don't Stop The Music." They helped Rihanna become one of the hottest entertainers around the world.
She kept fans waiting almost an hour last night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Unfortunately this seems to be a pattern since the start of the tour on March 8.
At first fans didn't seem to mind as they were distracted by bass-heavy music including the "Harlem Shake." When Rihanna finally took the stage at 9:50 pm, she appeared on stage beneath a lone spotlight wearing a black cloak, kneeling down on her knees, singing "Mother Mary," from her latest album.
Rihanna is talented, there's no denying that. Her last stop in Minneapolis back in 2011 during her Loud tour was memorable. Last night was just the opposite. Something was off.
"She seems lost right now," said Danielle from Minneapolis.
Backed by a four-piece band, two backup singers, and eight dancers, Rihanna's 100-minute set felt disjointed without any rhyme or reason. Rihanna happily introduced Nuno Bettencourt of the rock band Extreme but unfortunately his guitar was buried under bass-heavy beats (yup, the volume was cranked since the dance party before Ri Ri came out).
Did anyone else leave with plugged up ears? You know that feeling you get if you've been on an airplane for hours.
The choreography seemed sluggish at times but also kinky, and overly sexual, to the point where even the in-house camera guys had to quickly focus elsewhere -- on a band member or backup dancer, instead of on Rihanna who constantly grabbed her lady parts, (mainly her crotch).
This was the second time in one week eleven-year-old Ann from Minnetonka and her dad saw a concert at the X. "We saw Pink earlier this week. I loved her!" Ann said. When asked what she thought of Rihanna's performance Sunday night she said, "I really liked it. At the end it kind of made me sad (referring to Rihanna singing "Shine Bright Like a Diamond"). We just had a very close family member die and it just reminded me of him."
Her dad however said, "I thought it was a little short for the money and since we had to wait so long. I thought the second half of the show was much better than the first. We saw her last concert at Target Center and had a lot of fun so we thought we'd check her out again. I don't really like her new album as much. I think there's too much Chris Brown influence. Tonight was not as fun or upbeat. Honestly, I've lost respect for her since everything happened between the two of them."
We all fall in love. We all suffer from nasty breakups. What pop icons like Rihanna need to remember is that there are young fans who have yet to experience these things and they look up to her. They model her actions, they want to dress like her, style their hair like her, they want to be her. Personal relationships in Hollywood rarely remain personal. Having Chris Brown in her life has had a huge impact on Rihanna's life and now her singing career is suffering the consequences. Little girls see a woman who was abused by her boyfriend and then gets back together with him? That speaks volumes. However, that's not our business. Back to the music.
The Unapologetic album is confusing. It's hard to separate the pop icon who we know for her glamorous image from past red carpet events vs. the "real" Rihanna, a superstar isolated by her fame "Good Girl Gone Bad" dealing with controversial relationship issues with Chris Brown, "Rude Boy" and sending conflicting messages through her songs such as "Nobody's Business."
Rihanna is full of anger, hurt and pain. "Who here hates love? Who thinks love is confusing as ***k. Let me hear you St. Paul,"she asked fans.
The crowd did come alive at the end of her set during "Umbrella" "I Love the Way You Lie" and "All of the Lights" -- Minnesota Twins catcher Drew Butera used it as his walk-up song last season.
Maybe it's time for the young pop star to take some time and regroup.
1. Mother Mary
2. Phresh Out the Runway, with snippets of "Jump"
3. Birthday Cake
4. Talk That Talk
5. Pour It Up
6. Cockiness (Love It)
8. You Da One
9. Man Down
10. No Love Allowed
11. Rude Boy
12. What's My Name? (Rihanna and Drake cover)
15. All of the Lights (Kayne West cover)
16. Rockstar 101
17. What Now
18. Love Song
19. Love the Way You Lie
20 . Hate That I Love You
21. Red Lipstick
22. We Found Love
23. S&M, Only Girl (In the World), Don't Stop the Music medley
24. Where Have You Been
Sarina is the entertainment columnist for KSTP.com covering the latest entertainment news. Follow her @sarinaBL.