Review: Rihanna’s ‘ANTI’ World Tour Is Something You Have To See To Believe

A night before she let Drake get a little twerk action, Rihanna couldn’t contain her excitement on the first of two shows in Los Angeles. “L.A., I been waiting for ya’ll. Ya’ll know that?” she said to a packed house of screaming fans at the Inglewood Forum Tuesday (May 3).

Night one of Rih Rih’s So-Cal tour installment was a 90-minute production of bright lights, stunning dance routines, and a handful of wardrobe changes.

Kicking off with “Stay,” Rihanna emerged from the opposite end of the venue, strutting up a stairway in a white hood, beige bodysuit, and custom Guiseppe Zanotti thigh-high-chap boots. After the open, she hitched a ride to the stage on a transparent rectangular prism performing “Sex With Me” in all it’s seductive glory.

The full setlist was a hodgepodge of past and present with ANTI cuts (including “Consideration” “Work” “Kiss It Better” “Desperado,” and “Love on the Brain”) weaved between older hits (“Man Down,” “Rude Boy,” “Birthday Cake,” “Umbrella,” “Love The Way You Lie Pt. 2,” “We Found Love,” “Where Have You Been”), some of her biggest features (T.I.’s “Live Your Life” Drake’s “Take Care,” Kanye Wests’s “All Of The Lights,”), and buzz singles “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “FourFiveSeconds.”

Despite the confidence oozing from her pores, the show’s energy felt slightly uneven at times. One of the night’s loudest crowd reactions went to a pair of backup dancers voguing in sparkly hooded catsuits while Rihanna changed clothes beneath the stage (her wardrobe was on point, just as you would expect).

No matter the seesaw vibe of the show, Rihanna is the best she’s ever been vocally, and more captivating than ever. Especially when she stripped down layers of clothing and teased the audience wearing only a black thong over a lace jumpsuit. There were other moments where she would simply stop and smile to an eruption of cheers.

The stage setup matched the music, transforming from muted notes for the more somber records, to vibrant colors on the up-tempo songs, and a curious overflow of suds pouring down a white backdrop as she performed “Diamonds.”

Contrasting the sluggish and odd foam moment, Travis Scott, opened the tour with so much energy that he needed to catch his breath after the first few minutes. Towards the end of his set, Scott ran up to the Forum’s balcony section to perform “3500” and picked someone out of the audience to rap the n-word, like he did with a white fan last month.

He also told the crowd to rebel against security by standing on their chairs, and gave a short PSA about smoking: “If you got a motherfuckin’ cigarette, throw that shit out. Tobacco is foul!”

As a whole, the ANTI World Tour felt more like a randomly epic road trip, than a well-planned journey — and that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes it’s the unexpected things in life that make for the best stories.

Photos by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Fenty Corp