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THE AL GILKES COLUMN – Amazed by Ri Ri long ago

Al Gilkes

THE AL GILKES COLUMN – Amazed by Ri Ri long ago

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People want to know how come I wrote about the money aspect of Rihanna’s LOUD concert but not a word about her performance, the production or the controversy over the food and drinks for the $500 VVIPs and the $300 VIPs.
I plead guilty, but with an explanation. For most of the nearly 30 000 at Kensington Oval, the show was a mind-blowing experience because they were seeing Ri Ri live for the first time in Barbados. For me, the experience was different because my mind had already been blown by Ri Ri at her first, yes, first, performance in Barbados.
It happened on the night of Saturday, April 22, 2006, when the Barbados Tourism Authority hosted an album launch party for her at Hilton Barbados.
Read this excerpt from Wendy Burke in the Nation in 2006.
“Twenty-five minutes of energy that left the fans thoroughly satisfied: that is what Rihanna delivered to fans at the Hilton’s Old Fort last Saturday as she launched her second album.
“Rihanna’s new dancers Booma, Anthony, Shirleen and Dana, who joined her in February, came on stage at 10:05 p.m. and she followed one minute after, performing SOS, the single from her new album A Girl Like Me. This had the crowd of 1 500-plus at the exclusive launch party screaming non-stop.
 “The audience were kept on their toes singing and dancing along with If It’s Lovin’ That You Want from Rihanna’s debut album. And when the Bajan star broke into dialect, it was even more thrilling to the crowds. ‘You all wanna go home? At Crop Over and Carnival all wunna does behave real bad,’ she told her elated audience.
“DJ Max Glazer then played Rupee’s Jump and let the audience know Rihanna had told people in every state and country she had visited all about Barbados. While the track played the two male dancers Booma and Anthony gyrated as if they were accustomed wukking up.
“Rihanna then kept dropping tracks from her Music Of The Sun album . . . and the fans enjoyed every minute of the energy-bursting Saturday night performance.”
As a result, while most who went to Kensington Oval did so uncertain about what to expect and unsure if they would get their money’s worth, I went confident about experiencing a super performance. She lived up to all my expectations.
Getting drinks and food in the VVIP area was also not a problem for me. I did find patrons ten deep at the hard drinks bar, all shouting for the attention of the too few waiters. But as I scanned the scene, I saw there was a female pouring various liquors into glasses on a table for the waiters who then added ice and chasers. So I told her I didn’t need ice or chaser and asked her to pass me two glasses of brandy. That she did and I was able to wet my throat.
In terms of eats, I realised that the waiters were not getting among the crowd with the trays of toothpicked delicacies and that a sensible few people were getting stuff by standing at the exit from the prep area. Well, I have always heard that if you can’t beat them, you should join them.
Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email [email protected]