Singer gifts fan who snuck into TO concert with a super-special smartphone.
"Rihanna types don't usually do the Danforth," says the checkout lady at the Shoppers Drug Mart across the street from the Danforth Music Hall Theatre in downtown Toronto. "It's usually people we've never heard of."
It's day two of Rihanna's 777 Tour, which means we've landed in Ontario after our second red eye flight. We're disoriented but fortified by melatonin and an impressive measure of Red Bull. We're also delighted to see that the Danforth is just as intimate a space as Ri's first show in Mexico.
To give you the lay of the land, we're basically in an indie movie theater. Not the great, hulking megaplexes that show summer blockbusters on 11 screens but a place that has chandeliers and popcorn in red-and-white cardboard containers and two floors. It's cute.
Also, get this, there's ASSIGNED SEATING. We're ushered up a small staircase to our seats on the V.I.P. balcony (*brushes off shoulders*) and we're greeted with a startling sight — the back of an audience that's not only quiet but absolutely right on time. The TO crowd was reserved during DJ Reflex's set but by the time Rihanna took the stage for her second 777 performance, the polite, punctual Canadians (just perpetuating stereotypes here, people) went buck wild. Rihanna's setlist didn't vary too much from the night before. A crowd request upvoted the Eminem collab, "Love The Way You Lie" in place of "Diamonds," but the obliging star sang both. But that wasn't all Rihanna laced the crowd with.
"This gift gives you total bragging rights, you understand me?" Rihanna yelled, waving a smartphone in the air. Dubbing it "some next level sh--," Rihanna surveyed the crowd for a promising recipient. "DAMN, it's got to be you. It's definitely you, girl. You had to be 18 and over to get in here so you are a star. "Plucking a lucky — and visibly sub-18-year-old — Rihanna fan who probably ended up getting grounded for sneaking out (soooo worth it), Rihanna handed the very rare phone over that was not only engraved with her trademark "R" but also "Toronto" to commemorate the occasion.
Maybe we're just getting better at navigating a 200-member caravan of press and fans, but the Toronto stop was painless, efficient and very welcoming. The drugstore cashier during our snack run obviously wanted to run away with us. I don't blame her. Even if that store had the BEST chips. Also, those little maple leaf sandwich cookies. They're the best. On to Stockholm!