To promote her new album, Unapologetic, Rihanna has set off on an ambitious globetrotting tour that will hit seven countries in seven days. Rolling Stone contributor Jeff Rosenthal is on the plane with a small army of fans and assistants, and an extravagant amount of champagne.
This morning was another long one. We left our London hotel at 3 a.m., getting to the airport an hour later. As these things go, we finally took off a little before 11. For those eight hours, with darkened eyes and pallid faces, we smiled. We re-enacted Rihanna’s dance moves: an MTV cameraman doing the best rendition of her jelly-leg routine from “Cockiness (Love It),” Def Jam’s Gabe Tesoriero surprising us all with his version of her, uh, lap-patting “Birthday Cake.” We recited her onstage banter word for word, tightening her script until it broke: the introduction to “What’s My Name?” goes, as Rihanna said in just about every city, “My name isn’t oh-na-na. It’s Rihanna!” Someone started a rumor that one of the passengers was a child actor from Jurassic Park. Since we hadn’t seen her on the plane in days, an on-air personality from Canada’s MuchMusic printed up a missing poster that depicted Rihanna, looking for answers while walking up and down the aisle. A writer fell asleep while typing, his entire screen filled with a series of j’s and k’s. Twenty people surrounded him and laughed.