On Tour With Rihanna: Maple Leaf Meh in Toronto

Nov 17, 2012 by

I’ve often heard that Canadians are very nice. And they are—the customs agents, the TSA screeners and the airport restaurant cashiers were are very pleasant.

That’s not to say our neighbors to the north don’t have spirit, though. Toronto represented last night at  Rihanna 777 concert at Danforth Music Hall—the second in a breakneck series of nightly shows the pop star is pulling off in a week.

Leaving Mexico City after 3am left the masses of fans and journos tagging along deflated, but we still had a few hours to recharge before the show. Did RiRi? Her performance at Danforth wasn’t short on hits, but it was short on something.

Rihanna doesn’t have to pull out all the stops at the shows—she’ll be back back on a bigger tour in the spring— but there was an air of detachment as she opened the night with “Cockiness.” The choice was unintentionally ironic—Ri was not serving it. During the anthemic “Only Girl (In the World),” she was muted and, well, looked tired. The night plugged along, and Canada lavished love on the singer, even if she wasn’t giving 100%.

Back on the bus, fans were telling reporters that Mexico City was far better than this outing, which had the added onus of running unnecessarily long. Ri came out of the gate so strong that any dimming of her wattage is going to be noticed by this gang.

The buzz for Europe, though, is good.

On the seven-hour flight to Stockholm, the band mingled and a renewed thrill permeated the plane. (People were still chatting it up at 4am). Still I couldn’t help but notice our guest of honor hasn’t been back to visit us since that first plane trip to Mexico

As I try to catch a few winks while my cabinmates chatter, I think about a bit of gay fun I squeezed in while in T.O: Down the street from the Danforth Music Hall is a small pub, The Old Nick, which has only a rainbow flag outside to tag it as a queer watering hole.

I ventured in nonetheless to be with my peeps for a bit of lively conversations, something from the grill and (more) live music. Women and men hang together at the Old Pub, and the bar is refreshingly free of the desperate air of cruising. It’s an amiable place where a pop princess could easily relax and get her groove back.