The idea had merit. Load 150 journalists and 50 fans onto a plane, and perform seven concerts in seven days. Groundbreaking. No other artists had ever done that. And now we see why…
Start strong, and taper off from there
Rihanna’s 777 Tour had all the makings of a great story. Just touring to seven different countries and playing seven different cities (Mexico City, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London, New York) should have made rock and roll history. So what happened?
Rihanna started strong. She met with her entourage of journalists and fans and drank champagne with everyone the first night. Energy was high. The people invited on the 777 Tour felt fortunate to be hand-picked for this historic event.
The wheels came off the tour bus (or plane, in this case) somewhere after the first two shows, where it became abundantly clear to all participants that it was going to take an act of God to get them all from one country to the next, on time, to perform a concert.
Sex, drugs, and rock and roll
The only things missing from this epic tour were the sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Rihanna sang her pop hits from her new Unapologetic album (the title of which would give journalists an easy springboard for launching their discontent) night after night. There was no backstage drama. There were no all-night ragers. The most significant component missing from this behind-the-scenes look at a pop sensation’s tour was the behind-the-scenes part.
You know you’re in trouble when…
Most of us remember when the documentary was being filmed and the journalists and fans on board reported a general feeling of boredom, fatigue, and restlessness. They had been invited to chronicle the inner workings of one of the world’s most popular singers, and instead they stared at the back of a plane seat for a week.
So how do you know your tour has derailed? When the biggest headline coming from your tour centers around a bored radio DJ from Australia streaking through the airplane to give people something to write and talk about. Tim Dormer remains the highlight of this tour and documentary.
The concept was ambitious, and ultimately the kiss of death for this idea. It was too ambitious. Everyone was tired and there was no time for anything outside of flying, getting to the venue, performing, and then doing it all over again. Watching this documentary makes you tired, and bored. We can all go to YouTube and find clips of Rihanna concerts if that’s what we want to watch. And we can do it without hearing how tired and bored the crew, Rihanna, and all of her guests are.
Might we suggest a 3-3-12 tour next time? Three cities, three shows, and 12 days. It’s not as catchy, but at least there would be enough time for people to sleep, and in a perfect world generate some sort of behind-the-scenes drama worth tuning in for.