The Oral History of The Rihanna 150: A #777 Tour Survival Story

Day One: Los Angeles to Mexico City

Venue: El Plaza Condesa

And so it begins: Rihanna’s 777 Tour— a seven day excursion with seven shows in seven days in seven countries beginning on Nov. 14. What started as a dream turned into one of the biggest events in entertainment history. Rihanna—along with her entourage and publicity team—would board a Boeing 777 twinjet along a group of die-hard fans (#RihannaNavy). There also happened to be 150 journalists, representing 82 countries. All guests would arrive on the morning of Wednesday Nov. 14 at LAX to board the plane. The excitement among the gathered media was palpable:

Maud Deitch:
One week, one plane, 150 journalists. This is about when people stop being polite, and start getting real. Real World: Rihanna 777 Tour.

Mary H.K. Choi:
Everybody on this junket looks vaguely familiar and you're fairly certain some dudes are wearing makeup.

Jeff Rosenthal: 
WE ARE HAVING A LOT OF FUN. We are in our fourth parking lot.

J. Escobedo Shepherd:
Got on a bus. Got off the bus. Got back on the bus.

The plane was boarded by the gathered journalists. There, they started to find their bounty:

Tim Dormer: Boarded 777 tour plane and we have goodies! Rhi Rhi socks, headphones, t shirt, fragrance and more!

J. Escobedo Shepherd:
We found the plane! It's really happening.

Julieanne Smolinski:
Getting on the 777! Deciding who to eat first in an "Alive" situation. The Rolling Stone guys look protein rich!

Erika Ramirez:
Going to start taking photos of people taking photos of themselves. starting with the Perez Hilton look alike.

Jeff Rosenthal:
Hey Erika, when Rihanna says hi to everybody, I dare you to hide under a blanket.

J. Escobedo Shepherd:
Everyone's trying too hard to out-Instagram each other to think about boning.

Julieanne Smolinski:
Journalists from dozens of countries on this trip but the French have already won the sideburns competition. Step it up, America.

Elliott Wilson:
Waitin on Rih Rih. Mexico!

J. Escobedo Shepherd:
Style alert, [Rihanna's publicist and Senior Vice-President of Media Gabe Tesoriero] is wearing Toms and a desert camo jacket.

Julieanne Smolinski:
They're passing out lunch on the plane. Got a vegetarian meal even though I eat meat. It’s called being unapologetic. Wonder how soon before the flight attendants are sick of me asking for cake.

J. Escobedo Shepherd:
Ill flight attendant looking like "mature" Sal from Mad Men.

Speculations arose that Rihanna would fly alongside the 777 jet in her own plane but much to everyone’s surprise, RiRi made her way onto the plane, and in true superstar form, produced champagne bottles and greeted her gathered passengers.

Jeff Rosenthal:
I'm on a plane with Rihanna.

J. Escobedo Shepherd:
Here is what Rihanna smells like: baby powder, magic, musk of unicorn.

Tim Dormer: 
WOW Rihanna just boarded the plane and walked past me. 'Welcome to da motherfucking 777 tour' is what she had to say!

Soo-Young Kim:
Oh my gahhh RiRi is so beautiful guys!

J. Escobedo Shepherd: THIS WHOLE PLANE SMELLS LIKE REB'L FLEUR.

Erika Ramirez: "Who's ready for Mexico? Who's ready for tequila?" Rihanna said.

Julieanne Smolinski: "This feels like a movie! And I'm the president!" said Rihanna, who incidentally smells amazing. 

Tim Dormer: Rihanna just announced over plane intercom that everyone on board 777 tour plane gets a diamond!

J. Escobedo Shepherd: She's been on this plane 15 mins, gone on the flight attendant mic twice. Gabe just walked by in the aisle with a glass of wine and hi-fived me.

Julieanne Smolinski: The plane is going bonkers. I think a German guy fainted.

Soo-Young Kim: First stop, Mexico City. K bai!

Rihanna’s 777 Tour was now in motion—Destination: Mexico City, where she would take the stage at El Plaza Condesa. The flight, which is just under four hours, was one of the shorter legs of the trip. But everyone was too excited to think about time, yet. The pop star was pouring Ace of Spades and Cognac during the entire flight. Fans and press were ecstatic, touching down in Mexico.

Julieanne Smolinski: Landed in Mexico! Rihanna walked up and down the aisles serving champagne and cognac. Best air hostess ever.

Tim Dormer: Touchdown Mexico! EPIC flight. Rihanna was pouring expensive whiskey into my mouth while we listened to her new album Unapologetic!

J. Escobedo Shepherd: IN DF. Survived leg 1, like four people on this flight are sober including me, believe it or not.

Erika Ramirez: I’m in fucking Mexico.

Jeff Rosenthal: Rihanna spilled champagne all over my seat and said "por favor" to pander to Mexican fans.

Elliott Wilson: Rih Rih got hits, ya bish!

And then, the first performance:

Tim Dormer: First show of 777 tour. Mexico city, amazing!

Soo-Young Kim: The baddest bitch has hit the stage.

Erika Ramirez: A lot of crotch grabbing and we're barely on the second song "Birthday Cake". Love it.  All cameras in the air to catch Rih Rih sing Breezy's part of the remix.

Tim Dormer: 1 a.m. in Mexico, haven't had a taco, about to fly to Toronto this shit is crazy! Rihanna played an amazing first show, what's next! It’s not all diamonds, I'm at an airport in Mexico and it’s 1:30 a.m., not going to see a bed till 6 a.m. in Toronto.

Julieanne Smolinski: Our driver in Mexico City is playing "One Headlight" and it's oddly poignant. We may be a little tired.

Tim Dormer: So tired and all she wants to do is drink.

Just another four and a half hour plane ride, and everyone will be watching Rihanna’s second show of the tour, in Toronto.

CLICK HERE FOR DAY TWO: TORONTO, REB'L FLEUR AND GABE'S MUSTACHE

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