Honest Review of Rihanna Concert in Manila, Philippines
Rihanna’s performance was like instant coffee to a freshly brewed Beyoncé performance. No matter what any of you think of either artists, just from performance value alone, Rihanna really needs to practice her craft before she goes on stage again.
After the show last night, she left a manufactured, preservative taste in my mouth compared to the feeling of watching real committed artists who make me feel energized and inspired after their shows.
I’m not sure if it’s just because she’s in Manila so she doesn’t take the show seriously, but her crowd of around 16,000 at SM Arena in Manila should really get their money back.
The following are the main problems with the show.
Plain, Boyish, and Very Odd Costume
She wore one not-so-great costume the whole time. She first came out in white sneakers, white boy basketball shorts, white leotard with peek-abo slits in the back, and a thick white headband.
Now I thought this was pretty cute the first time. But when she came out with it every other time I thought that she was going to change, I knew something was not right.
What was entertaining is guessing what other incarnation she would do to the plain outfit that looked like it was what she came in to wear for rehearsal.
The next time she came out, she lost the headband. Then after that, she must have borrowed an oversized, long-sleeve hoodie from someone backstage and rocked just the leotard underneath.
Then, as a finale to go with her Stay and Diamonds songs, she wore the leotard on its own, with her legs looking stumpy on stage because of the darn sneakers.
Apparently in other coutries she wears great outfits for each part of the show. Then did her production lose or leave behind her real costumes on the way to the venue?
No one in the group of friends I was with could believe it. Instead of chanting, “Rihanna Rihanna”, we were chanting, “Change costume, change costume!”
Dancing As If She Thinks The Show is Still Rehearsal
Then there was her performance itself. The dancers, the back-up singers, and her band all did well. They themselves had many costume changes.
The lead guitarist went from a sleeveless hoodie to his hair down to a leather jacket to a beanie. He was having a great time in his own world. I was watching him more than Rihanna herself, because sadly, she was performing like she was just rehearsing.
She did the same little booty shake and crotch grabbing from the top of the show to the finish. She can dance a little bit, but with people like Beyonce as her contemporaries, there were times I was wondering why she even bothers to dance at all. Her backup singers looked more insync and precise with their movements than she did.
Mediocre Live Singing That Doesn’t Stand Up to Her Easy-to-Sing Recordings
She sounds okay live. She most likely has a decent sound engineeer making sure of this and I did enjoy hearing the songs of hers that I like. But every part there was a high note, she’d make the crowd sing it….a crowd full of Filipinos who can probably sing those notes in their sleep.
Filipinos are known for having good voices so I’m sure that most of the crowd was not okay with her shooting the mic at everyone during any note that went higher than the usual octave she was singing in.
There were also parts where she lip-synced so why didn’t she just lip-sync the high parts at least?
The Problem with Manufactured Artists
Rihanna seems like she is manufactured from head to toe. I don’t know everything about her, but her image to styling to songs to performance is somehow generic like that is what her team thinks the world wants and so they give it.
I’m not knocking her styling or songs down. I think those are her biggest assets. She’s got an edgy style that they switch up very often. She’s also got great music producers that know how to make a hit song.
But because Rihanna is not the creative artist that someone like Beyonce or Alicia Keys is, you can see in her performance that her heart is not 100% into it. The work does not seem to come from her, she seems like she’s singing for other people and not herself or for her fans.
What I find to be a true disappointment is that she has been blessed with an amazing opportunity to bring light and joy to the world. Even if people are dictating what is going on behind the scenes, she is still in control on stage.
But she just wasn’t all there. She is loved by many diehard fans, so I think she can probably do better than what she showed everyone in Manila last night.
This was supposed to be a “diamonds” concert, but it really seemed more like a plastic-costume-jewelry-glue-gun-applied-rhinestone performance.
Written By: Chelo Aestrid