“Where Have You Been” is not just a hit Rihanna song, it’s a question the fatigued writers, photographers and TV production crews who’ve been packed onto the 777 Tour jet since last Wednesday (November 14) have been asking about the singer herself. Aside from her club gigs in the different cities the journalists have been bussed off to each night, there has been zero in-flight interaction with RiRi since her once-promising champagne-pouring shenanigans on Day One of the trip.
Those frustrations, combined with hours spent hurrying up and waiting for delayed red-eye flights, full-day-long stretches with no hotel stay (much less shower) in sight and rumblings that many of those aboard were told by Rihanna’s handlers, pre-trip, that she would be giving at least a couple mile-high press conferences on the aircraft (but hasn’t) came to a head in the wee hours of Monday morning. During a Berlin-to-London trek, the passengers began to stand up in their seats with their various recording devices and stage a somewhat comical, yet passionate, revolution. Did I mention the naked Australian who streaked the entire plane? Catch the video of the uproar I shot above.
To those not on the trip who are following the exploits of the whole 777 journey, hopping from city to city with Rihanna probably seems like a hot ticket. But to writers with daily deadlines to meet — and no stories to go off of other than reviewing the same concert with a nearly-identical setlist every night — well, it’s enough to make people sing out “Y.O.U. are making this hard!”
Actually, what did happen once the plane left Berlin airspace (several hours late) was this: chants of “Just one quote!” (which, er, I may have had a hand in starting), “Occupy 777!” (brilliant) and “Save our jobs!” (ditto) erupted. (Regarding the latter, there are at least two camera crews on board who appear to be reduced to capturing the same b-roll of seated passengers over and over each day, mostly out of boredom.) During the riot, some journos also took to loudly riffing on Rihanna’s on-stage banter — which we’re quite acquainted with at this point — by exaggeratedly mimicking, “Oh, na na — WHAT did you call me?”
Despite all the action, RiRi herself never surfaced from her tucked-away area at the front of the plane. But her personal team and Island Def Jam label reps simply stared at the comical madness playing out before them with looks of both amusement and utter confusion. The upside is that I can safely say this: while the mood among the press appeared to be visibly souring by Day Four (Saturday), an adrenalin shot of fun and jubilation was at the heart of the Ri-volt that broke out early Monday morning. (Thanks, alcohol!)
How else to explain this dude’s bare-butt run up and down the aisles of the plane, which Fuse captured perfectly:
Me, I was just happy to spend Sunday’s entire 777 stop catching up with my buddy Olaf “O-Jay” Jeglitza of Real McCoy/”Another Night” fame, who not only gave me a walking tour of Berlin earlier in the evening, but who I also managed to smuggle into Rihanna’s show at E-Werks, despite the stoic security team asking to see proper badges and tickets outside the venue.
Next up: tonight’s gig in London, and a very long flight over to New York, which should present some interesting opportunities for more spontaneous nudity. Then again, when one worried-looking IDJ rep was asked this morning, post-protest, if they thought Rihanna would actually board the plane with us again, given the above events, they declined to confirm or deny.