To fete the release of her seventh album, Unapologetic, Rihanna will be flying via Delta 777 jet to play seven concerts in seven cities in seven different countries in seven days -- and Us Weekly's invited! Senior Editor Ian Drew is traveling the world with the 24-year-old superstar -- plus nearly 250 members of her team, worldwide press, and fans -- on her landmark 777 Tour.
For all of the inside details aboard the 777, read Ian's dispatch from days five and six, Sunday, Nov. 18, and Monday, Nov. 19, when the "Diamonds" singer performed in Berlin and London. Plus, check back daily for exclusive tidbits, photos, and more!
Today we all found ourselves in the utmost hopeless place.
After arriving in Berlin today, Rihanna was immediately whisked off to a hotel. For the rest of us, they had a large room in the concert venue set up with food and Wi-fi. We arrived at 5:30 p.m. and were stuck there, shoulder-to-shoulder, like prisoners, until Rihanna went onstage at 11:30. The menu? Rubbery turkey, greasy green beans, German pasta, and stacks of donuts. (Incidentally, the venue was a place called E-Werk, once a detention center during World War II.)
Rihanna stayed in her hotel room, drinking wine, getting a massage, and getting her hair and makeup done before the show. She arrived at the venue just 20 minutes before showtime and headed to her dressing room, where she drank some more wine and munched on German chips while fans awaited her appearance.
Finally, she came out in black sunglasses, a baggy white jacket -- and la piece de resistance, a black mesh top with a bold white marijuana leaf emblazoned across the front. She paired it with a black bra and black thigh-high boots. Her hair was in a French braid-type style, and she wore black lipstick and chunky gold earrings.
"Berlin, what's poppin'? I'm really excited to be here," she told the crowd.
The song list for this show was identical to the one in Stockholm, but it was one of her better sets.
At one point in the night, she said, "It is so hot in here! How do you say hot in here? It's ist? We're gonna cool it down just a bit."
She then launched into her set of acoustic ballads. When she sang "Take a Bow," a few fans shouted out, "Chris Brown!" That's the first mention I've heard of him on the trip so far.
After the show, Rihanna retreated to her dressing room. She arrived at the airport at 3:45 a.m. in a green, red, and black fur-collared jacket, navy blue T-shirt, black leggings, and white Air Jordans. When she saw we were all going through security, she pulled her hood over her head, smiled at us, and waited in a corner with her bodyguards. She then had to go through security herself, even though she temporarily misplaced her boarding pass and was held up at customs.
I told her the show was great when she passed and she said, "Hi! Thank you!" One of the guys in her camera crew (the tour is being filmed for a documentary) played a joke on her by sitting in a wheelchair and filming her a la The Shining as she walked toward the plane. She noticed and started laughing and then walked over, grabbed the camera, and started filming him!
Once inside, she sat quietly in her seat. But chaos erupted right as the plane took off. It all started when a flight attendant ran back to adjust a door at the back of the plane. To my left, some folks decided to cause a ruckus by singing "What's My Name" and singing "Rihanna" instead of "Hey Na Na." The press in the entire press section started joining in and chanting "Rihanna" to try to get her to come out. (Many journalists on the plane have complained that the singer has yet to grant one-on-one interviews.) Then an Australian radio DJ who has been playing the harmonica on the trip stripped and ran around the plane naked as everyone went nuts.
Eventually, things settled down and people stopped chanting. Our plane landed in London at 5:46 a.m., at which point Rihanna was whisked to her room to sleep. The rest of us, including the band, arrived at the hotel at 10 a.m., after being up for over 25 hours.
Today, Rihanna lights the Christmas tree at the Westfield shopping center in Stratford. She will also perform there and then go back to get dressed and ready for her performance tonight at the Forum. There is an after party at the venue, and we'll leave from there to fly to NYC.
READ IAN'S PREVIOUS DISPATCHES