Swarms of fashionable fans made their way to New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom Thursday night for “The Release,” MySpace Music’s urban music concert series starring Rihanna. Until the chanteuse’s arrival, the audience enjoyed the sounds of DJ Kast One and DJ Enuff and the visual treats onstage, where sets of stacked vintage televisions and silver mannequins were positioned on each side. Hot 97’s Angie Martinez was the evening’s host and welcomed the superstar to ear-piercing screams and flashing cameras.
After the TVs and mannequins magically moved to center stage, “Mad House,” the intro to her fourth album Rated R, opened the show while RiRi quickly popped up from underground. Just like that, the wait was ova, and Little Miss Sunshine killed the anticipation with “Russian Roulette.” Rocking a silver leotard and a trimmed do, Rihanna spun and jumped around to “Don’t Stop the Music,” but this time, was almost too cool to dance. “Take a Bow” and “Disturbia” brought back memories of her Good Girl Gone Bad days, while “Hard” and “Live Your Life” rumbled the floor. She sang her featured part on Jay-Z’s “Run This Town” before ending the night’s festivities by belting out her biggest hit yet, “Umbrella.” In the crowd, fans opened their umbrellas for the occasion.
While no special guests appeared onstage, there were a few in the audience. DJ Khaled, L.A. Reid, and labelmate Chrisette Michele sat and enjoyed the show from the side skybox, but the best seat this time was clearly on the floor. Everyone in the house left with the simple realization that, indeed, the “Rihanna reign just won’t let up.”