Us Weekly's Senior Editor Ian Drew has been among the 250 journalists, fans and entourage members flying with Rihanna via Delta 777 jet for her 777 tour -- as she plays seven concerts in seven cities in seven different countries in seven days to promote her seventh album, Unapologetic.
Guess Rihanna is sort of "apologetic" after all.
Days five and six of the wild tour (in Berlin and London, respectively) dissolved into a "hopeless" situation, I blogged on Monday Nov. 19. Most passengers were deliriously deprived of sleep, food and sunlight; members of the press were upset that Rihanna had been completely unavailable for quotes, photos or much of anything offstage following day one of the tour. One particularly despondent Australian shock-jock even streaked naked through the plane in protest; in London, one journalist handed out fake "Missing: Rihanna" flyers.
On the final day, Rihanna (who reportedly heard about the "Missing" flyers) acknowledged what I call "Plane-a-Geddon" as the 777 prepared to land in NYC for one more concert.
Coming to the back of the plane to address the group, the "Diamonds" singer sheepishly addressed her in-flight press corp -- plopping down in an aisle seat right across from me.
"Guess what, we made it! This has been an experience the I will never ever forget. I barely slept. My sleeping was all done on this plane," explained the superstar, who kicked off the tour, heading toward Mexico City, in high spirits, pouring champagne for everyone. "I want to thank everyone for making this trip the sh--. I want to see the naked Australian!"
Despite the widely publicized snafus, Rihanna said: "I was glad I did this. absolutely. Tonight is the night everything we did this week goes off."
"I know you guys got barely any dirt," she told the disappointed writers. "But I had to be good. I still sound like sh--. It's impossible to spend time with everybody, and I'm sorry I didn't. But this was excellent and I would definitely do it again."
Her plans for a similar tour? "I would do this next time with more people, more cities and sit back the the fans more. . . I had to preserve my health. Normally, I'd be back here popping bottles with y'all . . . I had to preserve my voice. I was worried about my body more than partying on the plane, so I had to just sleep whenever I could. I hope you guys had as much fun as I did."
READ IAN'S PREVIOUS DISPATCHES