Kanye West (L) and Rihanna perform onstage during DirecTV Super Saturday Night hosted by Mark Cuban’s AXS TV and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan at Pendergast Family Farm on January 31, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for DirecTV
Rumors spread quickly throughout Phoenix that Rihanna would have several special guests joining her headlining set at DirecTV’s Super Saturday Night concert — including her two “FourFive Seconds” collaborators Kanye West and Paul McCartney, as well as longtime mentor Jay Z.
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While Macca and Hov were nowhere to be found at the DirecTV SuperFa Stadium in Glendale’s Pendergast Family Farm, West was a welcome surprise, appearing halfway through Rihanna’s hour-long performance to do a 10-minute mini-set, including his own McCartney collab, “Only One.”
Those holding their breath for the live debut of “FourFive Seconds,” however, were left disappointed — though don’t be surprised if next weekend’s Grammy Awards offer some sort of performance. Instead, Rihanna blazed through some of the most feisty highlights of her catalog, from the lesser-known (“Rockstar 101,” “Jump,” “Cold Case Love”) to the mellow (“Take A Bow,” “Hate How Much I Love You”) to the anthemic (“We Found Love,” set-closer “Diamonds.”)
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Rihanna dressed formally for the occasion, tastefully decked out in a sleek black pantsuit with a black silk camisole, accented by what appeared to be seven figures worth of diamond jewelry all over her neck, ears and both wrists. Rising hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd also made a mid-set cameo to team up with Rihanna on their current single “No Type” as well as perform their breakout hit “No Flex Zone.”
Engaging with the older DirecTV crowd would be a challenge for a less-seasoned performer than Rihanna, but the 26-year-old knew exactly how to rile up both sides of the massive complex.
“I know my left side’s feeling good, but what’s wrong with y’all on the left? Y’all drunk? That means y’all feeling the best right there.”
She also kept the crowd on its toes by adding mash-ups to some of her best-known songs, from dropping a “Forgot About Dre” beat on strip-club soundtrack “Pour It Up” to a “Kashmir”-indebted rock edge to “We Found Love” to a haunting use of the beat from “In The Air Tonight” on her verse from Jay Z’s “Run This Town,” during which she was joined by West.
The packed mini-stadiium included a few celeb guests, too, including John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen, 2 Chainz, and actor Aaron Paul, whose be-suited presence from the balcony proved to be a distraction for many Breaking Bad fans on the ground floor.
Here’s Rihanna’s set list:
“What’s My Name”
“Live Your Life”
“Pour It Up”
“No Type” (with Rae Sremmurd)
“No Flex Zone” (Rae Sremmurd only)
“Where Have You Been”
“We Found Love”
Ballad medley: “Love The Way You Lie”/”Take a Bow”/”Cold Case Love”/”Hate How Much I Love You
“All Of The Lights” (with Kanye West)
“Run This Town” (with Kanye West)
“Power” (Kanye West only)
“Black Skinhead” (Kanye West only)
“Clique”/”Jesus walks” (Kanye West only)
“The Good Life” (Kanye West only)
“Touch The Sky” (Kanye West only)
“Gold Digger” (Kanye West only)
“N**** In Paris” (Kanye West only)
“Flashling Lights” (Kanye West only)
“Only One” (Kanye West only)
“Diamonds From Sierra Leone”/”Diamonds Remix” (with Kanye West)