Even as “Stay” and others of her hits continue to dominate the charts and airwaves, the reports coming from the road have not been kind to Rihanna. Billboard reports that the pop songstress was booed onstage recently during her appearance in Adelaide, Australia, after showing up nearly an hour and a half late.
The singer acknowledged her tardiness only briefly, but offered no apology. “I’m finally here. It takes me forever to get back to Australia every time,” she said. “I can’t do that sh*t no more, Adelaide.” The Adelaide Advertiser reported that the delay drew ire from fans who vented on social media, and that even when her show got underway, responses from fans were mixed.
The Adelaide show was only the second show on the Australia leg of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” tour. The night before, as the Sydney Morning Herald reported, Rihanna started the show more than 40 minutes late, and failed to impress with her “crotch-grabbing, apparent slurring and disinterest in singing.” While critics have been fairly consistent in panning the singer’s live performances, at least the show in Melbourne started on time, according to the Herald Sun.
This is apparently more than a hiccup for Rihanna’s tour, as she has a track record for delayed starts. Back in May, Rihanna kept Boston fans waiting over an hour and a half for a show that had already been postponed along with several other shows due to alleged illness. The crowd booed her there, too. And again, no apology reported.
Whether these issues are due to Rihanna having no concept of time, or whether due to some sense of entitlement, the end result is that the singer is getting a reputation for keeping fans waiting, then putting on performances that are barely worth the price of a ticket. It would be unfair to suggest that every show plays like this, but at the very least, it sends a message that if you buy a ticket to a Rihanna show, it’s a crap shoot.
There’s no doubt that Rihanna is talented, and despite occasionally spouting lyrics that would make a sailor blush, those six Grammys and 30 million records sold do say something about her abilities. But artists can be quick to forget that the fans, not the talent, are the bedrock of their success. The fans buy the records and the concert tickets, and if as a musical artist you disrespect them and alienate them, it will eventually come back to bite you. Regardless of the cause for these snafus, Rihanna is going to have to to make some changes if she wants to keep fan loyalty.
For now, there’s enough evidence to suggest that if you’re a Rihanna fan, you might want to wait until she gets her crap together before you buy that concert ticket. And if you do buy it, just know what you’re getting into.