Shut Up and Fly: Rihanna’s Insane 777 Tour Goes Legit Insane
Mutiny on the jet! Journalists break down and frighten the pop star's crew as 'Unapologetic' junket gets real.
Rihanna is in the midst of her 777 Tour, bringing 250 press and fans along with her band and crew on a chartered plane around the world, performing seven shows in seven countries in seven days — all in the name of promoting her November 19 album Unapologetic. Does that sound as insane as it sounds fun? It totally is.
In the last post I predicted mutiny and it was a joke. But sweet baby Jesus, I fucking called it. It actually happened, on the most brutal travel leg of the tour. Because everyone was sad at not seeing Rihanna more than one time and onstage even though she is like 35 feet in front of us, but also, because everyone was completely twisted out their minds.
We left Paris at 1 p.m., landed in Berlin at 5 p.m., were shipped on busses directly to a large room attached to the club that, oh yeah, was a power plant during the Third Reich. Dark. After about five hours of waiting — blessed downtime, imbued with the impending light insanity — Rihanna took the stage at E-Werk, a hulking warehouse club perfectly suited for ’90s raves, but not so hot for seeing an artist from 6,000 feet away. Because she was late, the Germans were tee-raaaaaaashed by the time she came on. One exceptionally wasted blonde with the projection of an opera singer tried to start a sing along to “Diamonds” and then transitioned into “Like a Virgin,” the only reason being that she was completely intoxicato. She was behind 2,000 people in the back and it was almost certain that Rihanna could hear her from the stage. The show was pretty great, as usual — they are completely unvarying, even down to the conversational script, but other than her perhaps-drunk performance in Toronto, the consistency applies to the quality as well. At least she is changing her outfits which ps, hallelu hallelu to her stylist Mel Ottenberg. Tonight Ri gave Caribbean medical marijuana realness in a mesh weed tank and white doctor’s coat. Topped with black cat-eye shades and a brick lip, she looked like Jessica Rabbit.
The flight to London left immediately after the show (“immediately” a.k.a. three hours later) — the 333 tour, a.k.a. three shows in three countries in like, three minutes. Shortly after the plane took off, everyone in coach lost their collective minds simultaneously. Psychologists will study the footage for years to come.
It all started with a lot of booze and the condescending chant “B-roll,” mocking the copious mushy camera dudes taking shots of the most boring shit like people sleeping, signs, and luggage conveyer belts. (My theory is that at least tonight, they were overcompensating for being so wasted at work.) You could hear the collective snap as people just began chanting and clapping, screaming, until all the crazy unified into a single plane-sized globule. The “B-roll” chant evolved into “RIHANNA,” as there has been a general discontent with the dearth of any interaction with the star beyond that first day. That chant evolved into “SAVE OUR JOBS,” and then “GIVE US A HEADLINE” and finally, “WI-FI.”
Has anyone at any riot ever chanted, “Wi-fi! Wi-fi! Wi-fi?” They have now. IF NOT RIHANNA, IF NOT WI-FI, THEN WHAT? Concerned label officials and Rihanna bandmembers emerged from first class, bewildered, a couple having apparently just woken up and looking like they were going to blow a gasket. It was compete chaos. Then the harmonica Australian that I predicted was going to be the first to get duffed in the event of a revolution actually diffused everything. He emerged from the bathroom and streaked the entirety of coach, racing up one aisle and down the other, just as Rihanna once had whilst pouring our first-day Ace of Spades. I can never unsee his ass, I buried my face in my blanket to not look at his balls, and then I puked into it from coughing too hard. I was sober. Did I mention I have pneumonia, also? Anything you read about annoying incessantly coughing girl is unequivocally me, and I hope they get what I have.
To be fair, we knew what we were getting into when we signed up for this junket — I told everyone I was going to die beforehand, just in case — but the reality is so much fucking realer, you know? But also, a hearty lick my balls to all the band dudes who think we’re just experiencing “real life” on the “real tour road.” I have been on various levels of tour for a decade, from shitty smelly dudes in a van to fanciful tour bus status with your pal Omarion, and this is not like that! Even in a crappy van you can sleep.
Anyway, we ultimately did not see Rihanna. But Tanya, one of the plane’s excellent flight attendants, brought back a bottle of cognac. “It’s Jay-Z’s,” she said. I asked her if she’d ever experienced anything like a riot or mutiny on a flight but before I could finish she said, “You don’t even need to ask. No.” Now we are in London after a 14-hour bus ride. HOLLER AT ME!