Superstar Rihanna  thrilled the crowd with her flawless vocals and electrifying moves backed by her troupe of dancers at du Arena, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday. Rihanna is currently on her Diamonds world tour , having arrived in the country after her appearances in shows in South Africa. The entertainer lit up the arena with her energetic performance and constant engagement with the audience. “Abu Dhabi what’s up! I can’t believe I’m here right now. I can’t believe I’m back finally.” Her performances focused on her latest album, Unapologetic, and catered to blockbuster hits like "Umbrella" and "We Found Love".
The mix of Caribbean swagger and worldwide hits gave the audience exactly what they were looking for. Rihanna crooned her way through a heartfelt ballad "Stay" from her new album and closed the show with "Diamonds," one of biggest hits this year. Thousands of fans from across the GCC traveled to watch Rihanna’s live performance. “We are a group of eighteen people. I came with my brother and our friends from Saudi. The timing was perfect. We had an Eid break and all of us decided we had to go! I love Rihanna. She’s such a big superstar and Saudis’ love for her is undeniable. Her performance was mind blowing. I am so glad we came!” said Sarah Mohammed, a 21-year-old design student from Saudi Arabia.
The fashion icon was seen dressed from head-to-toe in a hooded black jumpsuit, wearing a heavy gold necklace, red lipstick and nail polish as she posed outside a mosque in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday. Photos of her posing in the Grand Mosque’s courtyard  by fashion photographers Steven Gomillion and Dennis Leupold were uploaded to her Instagram account. The photos quickly attracted admiration and criticism on social media portals.
“Rihanna shocked fans by wearing hijab for Abu Dhabi mosque photoshoot. But I am proud of her. I think she’s being respectful and is paying tribute to Arabic culture. She could have done otherwise, but choose to fit in and acknowledge love for the people who adore her. She’s showing respect by supporting the hijab,” Najlaa Hameed, a 22-year-old Kuwaiti student based in Dubai told Saudi Gazette. Hamid Syed, a 24 year old Saudi student who traveled to Abu Dhabi for Rihanna’s concert, felt otherwise. “She is so seductive. How can you even allow her to pose in front of a mosque?”
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, UAE’s biggest mosque, is open to non-Muslims for daily tours.
Diamonds World Tour is the ongoing fifth concert tour by Rihanna to support her seventh album "Unapologetic". Her next performance is in Tel Aviv, Israel on October 22.
By Mariam Nihal