Rihanna 777 Tour Day 4: We Interview Her DJs + Bassist in Paris
Today felt like the first normal day on Rihanna's 777 World Tour -- meaning we slept in a hotel bed for the first time and got to eat a full Swedish breakfast stocked with homemade loafs. The travel day was unnecessarily long, however, for just traveling from Stockholm to Paris; but it did give us the opportunity to interview members of Rihanna's band, specifically bassist and musical director Adam Blackstone as well as DJ Reflex and Congorock.
Seriously though, filling our bellies with homemade Swedish bread, eggs and coffee can change a person -- especially when half of our consumption has been airplane food. Plus, it gave us the opportunity to mingle with other journalists that may not be on our bus (The same people ride one of the four designated buses for the entire trip.)
Despite having only a two-and-a-half hour flight, we didn't arrive in Paris until dusk. And then we had to wait over an hour to get our bags, which ended up pushing everything back: hotel check-in, sound check for the band, and grabbing dinner. So, while at the baggage claim at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, we took the opportunity to chat with both of the DJs that have been opening for all seven of Rihanna's concerts.
"This is the first time [Congorock and I] actually met on this tour," says DJ Reflex, an L.A. based deejay who regularly plays at private parties for Jay-Z and Beyonce, as well as Kanye West. "I [also] do a lot of [Rihanna's] Birthday parties, all of the parties she has… She just asked if I would come play, as well as [Congorock], so we are happy to be here."
He adds, "[On this tour] to be able to play your own set before the artist comes on is always a little bit more fun. It's a different way of thinking when you are setting up for an artist, and we're having a lot of fun so far."
Italian deejay Congorock also talked to us about the most highly anticipated stops on the tour: "I'm really looking forward to the London and New York shows. I have a feeling that those are going to be the really good shows." He adds, "It will be exciting for me to have my friends see me perform at such a big event. The excitement still feels fresh, like the day I (found out) I was going on this tour, so it's really good to be here."
Adam Blackstone, Rihanna's musical director since March and bassist on the tour, also talked to us a bit about touring with the 'Diamonds' singer: "This is my first tour with her [where I'm] playing bass. I'm very excited to just share the stage with her and excited about the possibilities of doing different songs every night and the excitement the intimate crowds are giving us."
Blackstone, although not featured on 'Unapologetic,' plays bass guitar on all of her songs in order to "emulate the record," which is heavy on bass synth. Of course, he's just as excited about the upcoming record and gushes about some of his favorite tracks to perform live: "I really love the new stuff -- 'Phresh Off of the Runway,' 'Diamonds,' and 'Stay' … I really feel this is her best body of work to-date, so congrats to you Ri."
Once we got to the hotel, a mere block away from the Champs Elysees, we had 45 minutes to refresh and head out to Rihanna's gig at Le Trianon -- an old theatre that thrived in the late 19th century and is walking distance to the infamous Moulin Rouge and the Sacre Coeur.
RiRi performed on time tonight, wearing a sexy black jersey as a dress featuring a red graphic of supposedly Cyndi Lauper and black thigh high boots. Her scarlet lipstick and brushed-out curls looked very French.
The set list tonight was quite different -- and here's why: We noticed that during the fifth song 'Only Girl in the World,' Rihanna was messing with her ear piece. It seemed to not fit right or wasn't working. She stepped off stage for a minute, but when next song 'Don't Stop the Music' started playing without her, she seemed a little flustered and less confident. We imagine this is the reason why she completely vetoed her acoustic set, and even left off a handful of other songs generally on her set list.
By the end of the gig, she had only performed 12 songs, almost half as many as she usually does. But, the French Navy didn't seem to care at all. They freaked out over her performances of 'Where Have You Been' and 'We Found Love,' jumping so much on the latter song that the floor (made of old plywood) felt like it might collapse.
Since we finished at around 10:30PM we all headed over to an after party at the VIP Room, a club adjacent to the Louvre. But before consuming champagne, some of us snuck away to do a little sightseeing, which would be a first on this trip. Some spots we were able to mark off our checklist: The Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, the Palais Garnier (opera house), the Seine, and of course the Eiffel Tower, that sparkles at the stroke of Midnight.
We left VIP Room early (meaning 2:30AM) to get some sleep, but Rihanna ended up showing up at 3:30/4AM with Diddy, his girlfriend Cassie, Pharrell, Akon and Omarion. We also overheard a Swedish journalist on the 777 Tour talking about how he drunkenly went up to Diddy at some point in the night and told him to "f--- off." We have no idea what persuaded him to do this, but his friend ended up taking the bait and had a run-in with one of Diddy's bodyguards.
C'est la Vie!
— Rihanna (@rihanna) November 17, 2012
Rihanna 777 Tour Paris Set List
2. ‘Birthday Cake (Remix)’
3. ‘Talk That Talk’
4. ‘Man Down’
5. ‘Only Girl in the World’
6. 'Don't Stop the Music'
9. ‘Where Have You Been’
12. ‘We Found Love’