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Rihanna Performs to Packed House at Hammerstein Ballroom [Exclusive Coverage]

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Rihanna

’s concert Thursday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City was a packed event. Celebrating the release of her latest album,

Rated R

the free concert sponsored by MySpace and Jet Blue had the feeling of a stadium show packed into a smaller venue. In fact, anticipation was so high for the pop superstar that the crowd was going wild well before Rihanna even came out, as

DJ Kast One

and

DJ Enuff

warmed up the stage with a solid selection of hip-hop hits.

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Intended to amplify the “rockstar” ambiance that Rihanna now embodies, a large projection screen covered the entire expanse of the stage while piles of mannequins and televisions filled the foreground. Further enhancing the rock show vibe was Rihanna’ backup band, which made sure to infuse heavy guitar riffs into all of her songs. Fittingly the real star of the night was Rihanna, who used the concert as a chance to display the wondrous cacophony that is her musical work. Rihanna and New York City felt in synch throughout the concert as the entire crowd seemed to revel in the chance to sing along with her, not skipping a lyric for such songs as "Take A Bow," "

Umbrella

" and "Unfaithful." The crowd had obviously memorized even her new single with

Young Jeezy

, "

Hard

," with many people holding up copies of

Rated R

.

The Rihanna concert was a memorable event, to say the least. At a time when Rihanna is one of the most in-demand artists alive, she performed well above par and put on a fantastic show which satisfied even the most hardcore fans. The air was on fire when Rihanna first hit the stage and was left smoldering even long after her exit.

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