Review: Drake’s cosmic hitfest at Wells Fargo Center

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Photo by Katrina Murray
Photo by Katrina Murray

Drake fans are pretty loyal. Despite the technical difficulties that prevented the October show from happening, there was a big turnout for the December return of October’s own.

Drake’s silhouette emerged amidst the triumphant sounds of “Tuscan Leather” and its first verse which the rapper delivered passionately like a boxer entering the ring, incapable of defeat. The mood remained celebratory as the hitmaker unleashed Take Care favorites “Headlines” and “Crew Love” before returning to “Tuscan Leather”, this time for the third verse. Vulnerability took the forefront when Drake turned to tracks like “Furthest Thing”, “Own It, and “Connect” from Nothing Was the Same.

Then came the party. Drake (aka most sought after rap collaborator) sent the crowd into full frenzy mode with hits he’s been featured on over the past two years including French Montana‘s “Pop That” (complete with graphics of bare-bottomed Betty Boop-like characters and sensual red lighting), DJ Khaled‘s “No New Friends” and “I’m On One”, 2 Chainz‘s “No Lie”, and most recently Migos‘s “Versace”.

The mere presence of Drake’s voice on these tracks and their subsequent instant success attest to his Midas touch on the rap game. As with any Philly hip-hop event, all you have to do is bring out Meek Mill and cue the music to “Dreams And Nightmares” and you’ll feel the venue shake as the crowd roars each and every lyric. Drake did just that and later brought out show opener Miguel (who had an explosive set of his own) and Future to sing the hook to Lil Wayne’s “Love Me,” which features both rappers. Then they letting Future shine on “Same Damn Time” (which resolved suspicions of why it was missing from his earlier solo set).

Photo by Mike Vasilikos

Switching back to introspection and reflection, Drake offered the crowd “Pound Cake” and “The Motion” then took a quick playful break to do “Come Thru” and before ending the segment with “From Time” where he was joined by stunning R&B newcomer Jhene Aiko whose soft, high-pitched vocals dazzled much like her chiffon dress. The screen above the stage (which provided stellar graphics all night) displayed fireworks interspersed with on-stage shots of Aiko who shined solo as the smoke on the stage whisked Drake away for a costume change. To keep the crowd engaged during the break, the DJ spun snippets of old Drake classics such as “Over”, “Up All Night”, and “Miss Me” from Thank Me Later and “Successful”, “Uptown” and the Lil Wayne-assisted “I’m Goin In” from his 2009 breakthrough mix tape So Far Gone.

Drake turned to the gods for “Hold On, We’re Going Home” as he sang the track dressed in white pants and a light blue graphic tank top amidst white smoke and overhead heaven-drawn visuals of white clouds and sunlight. Despite the change in on-stage attire and scenery, he still represented his rise from underdog status on “Worst Behavior” and “The Language”. The rest of the night found Drake using his levitating circular catwalk for a lengthy segment where he gave shout outs to countless fans in the crowd as they eagerly vied for his attention to the sounds of “305 to My City”. He was joined by surprise guest Big Sean on “All Me” before ending his elaborate, upbeat set with the come-up anthem of the year “Started From the Bottom” ending his Would You Like a Tour? in champagne-popping style.

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