We were driving to the city for our date night and I had no idea where we were going. Hubby knows how much I love surprises, so many date nights are like this.

Though I knew this date was different since I asked him earlier in the day whether I should wear heels. He advised against it. Hmmmm. That usually means I’ll be dancing.

We were west of Chicago’s Loop and I started to get excited. The United Center is over here, are we going to a concert? My mind raced, who was in town that I’d like? I remembered hearing something about Bruno Mars, was it him? What about Rihanna? Though I think her concert was awhile ago.

As we parked near United Center, I began scowering the crowd, looking for T-shirts with an artist’s name or even just making snap judgments by the crowd’s demographics. Parked next to us were some white trashy looking folks, but on the other side was a car full of too-cool-for-school-urban-every-color-of-the-rainbow types.

Rihanna Diamond Tour“Well, it can’t be Rihanna because if so, I’d see a lot more half-naked girls,” I told Hubby.

He just smiled. When crossing the road to the United Center, the traffic cop leaned close to me:

“If Chris Brown shows up, you come out and get me!!”

I giggled with excitement: We were going to see RiRi! It had been a long week and I couldn’t think anything better than a concert to lose myself for a few hours. We found our seats, got a few rounds and something to nosh on and then chatted it up until the music started.

Rihanna had gotten a lot of flack for being more than four hours late to visit a high school in suburban Chicago, so we wondered whether her show would start on time. Plus, the opening act A$AP Rocky wasn’t going to go on because he was ill. She didn’t take the stage until 10 p.m., but I got uninterrupted time to talk with Hubby, so who cares? Also her DJ kept the crowd entertained with mixes of Kanye, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar.

And then there was another nice surprise. Being how I’m a huge fun. fan, when the DJ played their song “Tonight” the crowd lit up and we all belted it out.

I just love how music is so unifying.

Then it came time for RiRi to take the stage. The lights went down, the crowd went wild and she began with Mother Mary, which was followed by Phresh Out the Runway and then the raunchilicious Birthday Cake.

So many chics in the audience were sporting these, some with skulls, others without. I missed the part in my issue of Vogue where these were the big thing for spring.

She was Rihanna and then some. She brought her edge with her honey-bronzed Beyonce-esque weave, but making it her own with the side of her head shaved, shakin’ it in high-waisted hot pants and thigh-high boots. It all made her booty-popping moves even more bodacious.

Rihanna is known for being this straight-faced, controversial beauty from Barbados who was infamously beaten by her on-again-off-again-now-on-for-awhile-again boyfriend Chris Brown. Many people were angry and disappointed when she took him back, but she’s made it clear, she’s doing her own thang and it doesn’t matter what anyone says about it. In magazines she’s got this high-fashion, cool, don’t-f-with-me exterior and on Instagram she’s always half naked at best.

But on the stage, she kept grinning ear-to-ear, it was clear, she was having a blast. She’s got great presence and though her set was visually impressive, she had enough jen ne sais quoi to fill all of United Center without it. That honestly surprised me since I started liking Rihanna back in her SOS days because her tunes were great to run to and I didn’t consider her much of a true entertainer.

My how she’s grown. She grouped her songs into similar genres, unapologetically sultry substep amid electro-house, dance hall, then it was off to Scandinavia with the sounds of Norwegian super music-makers Stargate and Swedish House Mafia.

Then all too soon, the concert was over. We in the crowd cheered for more and though encores always feel so scripted these days, when she opened her encore with Stay, it didn’t matter. I’d been waiting for that song. Also, it maximizes her singing abilities, which is important for a singer whose bump-and-grind-filled performances means she seems to use a fair amount of backing tracks.

All in all, I had a great time and am glad Hubby makes me feel like I’m the only girl in the world.



Surprise Date Night: Rihanna’s Concert in Chicago — 7 Comments

  1. Wonderful! I really like her. And, you’re right, music is a great unifier and way to recenter yourself. I ate up this post! Love the crowd analysis. Sad about A$AP Rocky – I am anxious to hear more of him and hear your thoughts on him. Jason and I head to our own concert in Dallas April 6 – Grizzly Bear. ‘Twill be much-needed, just-us fun.

    • I love that you guys get out and go and do so much. It really is quite admirable. I totally want to be like you guys whenever I grow up. It’s midday here and I know you’ve already been to the library learning about coral, whereas we’re all *still* in our jammies, there’s a load in the dryer, the dishwasher is clean, but needs unloading and I’m not entirely convinced we’re even going to venture outside. :s But you guys are really cool parents.

      • Whatever – I only publicize our ‘good’ days. I’m perfectly lazy, well, let’s just say – ‘a lot.’ You’re a preeettttty admirable parent/spouse/writer/gal yourself.

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