Drake - US Airways Center - 11/16/2013
Drake's songs can sometimes make him sound like someone who spends a lot of time sitting in front of a window, watching rain and dialing up exes. That vulnerable side of the performer, if it exists, stayed in the recording studio when he played US Airways Center Saturday night. Drake was engaging, charming and on one.
Photos by Melissa Fossum
Drake kept in the shadows to perform "Tuscan Leather," the first track on his third and latest album, Nothing Was the Same, with his sophomore album singles "Headlines" and "Crew Love" verses mixed in, then he largely paced along the raised circle platform on stage while performing a medley of NWTS hits -- an unnecessary test of the crowd's preparedness for the show. Thousands of voices frequently caught the two-month-old verses when Drake threw his microphone toward the audience.
After this medley, Drake played a few back-to-back featured verses from Rick Ross' "Don't Stop (Pop That)" to DJ Khaled's "No New Friends" and "I'm On One" and 2 Chainz's "No Lie."
"I've got a hundred of those motherfuckers. We could do this all night," Drake said before a well-received version of Migos' "Versace," which was maddeningly fun to listen to and watch. It was an intense build that ended with a bang -- and pyrotechnics.
The ladies in the crowd were then asked to sing Jhene Aiko's parts in "From Time," before the end of which Drake was lowered beneath stage. In the meantime, a DJ within the circle platform played a medley of Drake's original hits -- "Successful," "Over," "Miss Me," "I'm Going In," and "Forever" among them.
Then, fog was pumped over the stage and into the audience until it looked like a giant cloud. Drake returned -- in different sneakers, same outfit -- to sing the radio-dominating "Hold On, We're Going Home," which, unfortunately, was the closest thing to a low point of his performance. It sounded a little like Asiz Ansari singing Drake at a karaoke bar; his voice was a bit more nasally than usual.
All was quickly forgotten when an audience member (who also happened to be a Toronto native, like Drake, now living in Phoenix) was brought on-stage to be serenaded. He played with the audience member's afro, spun her around, and kissed her forehead before she was escorted off the stage.
The music faded and Drake turned back toward the audience: "Fuck all this deep-emotion shit."