Drake brought his Would You Like a Tour? to Brooklyn on Monday night, performing at the Barclays Center as the spirit of Hov and Jason Kidd watched over him. Because it was a few days after his 27th birthday, and New York is the best place to celebrate any occasion, Drizzy threw himself a party during the show. And he was generous enough to invite 18,000 of his closest friends!
Tearing through Nothing Was The Same in near entirety, Drake managed to make the BK crowd cry and turn up simultaneously. For a young artist, he’s so confident in his set list and delivery that it doesn’t matter if the crowd has yet to commit his newest album to memory–but they did. While the much-talked about stage was sleek and pristine, Drake didn’t rely on flashy theatrics to fill time, just comforting images of his city and snapshots from his career (Degrassi included) and a collection of hits. This was a party after all, and any tears should wait until the end–or at least the first five or six drinks.
Read on for five foolproof ways to throw your own birthday soiree à la Drizzy.
1. Bring a crew
For a tour that boasts two openers (Future and Miguel), Drake still managed to welcome additional performers to the stage. First up: Busta Rhymes who literally stomped past the band with a menacing rendition of 1997 hit “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.” (It’s probably for the best Drake didn’t remember how young he was when that track first hit, should Busta feel old.) Next was Future, whose presence killed any suspicion that his temporary removal from the tour signified any bad blood, Jhené Aiko, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Rocky, and the entire A$AP mob. Drake used much of the night to celebrate the “future” of music, giving prime time to NWTS featured artist, Aiko, and heralding A$AP Rocky as the “most iconic” artist to come out of New York in years. “That’s my brother, we are family,” he told the crowd. “A$AP and OVO, that’s the same thing. You gotta know that.”
2. Be ready to improvise
Costume changes aren’t really Drizzy’s thing–give him a tank top and he’s good–so there was only one extended break during the nearly 90-minute show. This momentary pause allowed Drake to leave the stage, and Drake’s DJ, Future The Prince, to revisit cuts from previous albums. Whether you saw it as a way to prove your loyalty to T.O.’s Native Son (from Day One!) or simply wanted to play the Rihanna part of “Take Care,” the time spent without Drake on stage did not go to waste. To reward us for being so patient, Future The Prince dropped new track, “Trophies,” produced by Hit-Boy. We may not have known the words, but it’s hard to deny any song with that’s introduced by royal horns. Besides, where were you when you first heard it?
3. Be sure to give your guests some face time
Remember hearing about the complicated set that caused Drizzy to cancel his show in Philadelphia earlier this month? Said structure is not for the faint of heart. The massive circular walkway suspended over the middle of the floor seemed to be envisioned as a way for Drake to thank fans for spending time with him. After “Hold On, We’re Going Home” he took his time to saunter around, shouting out different supporters from the floor all the way to the top of the rafters. Who cares if it’s Monday night and we all have to work tomorrow? Drake was going to talk to the left side, the right side, the back, and the middle, and the only person who could have changed that was the crane operator.
Note for future concertgoers: if you are representing for your city with some kind of celebratory garb, but NOT standing up, or seem to be on a suspicious date, Drake WILL call you out in front of everyone.
4. Find a special someone
One of the more interesting things about a Drake show–and Drake fans—is the sheer hysteria that occurs when Aubrey takes the stage. For someone who’s never been overly sexual in his music, he elicits high-pitched screams that rival those heard at a Justin Bieber concert. And while it’s not his primary performance tactic, he eats up the response–and encourages it to go further–through a casual pelvic thrust or compliments paid to the woman with the “best legs” he’s seen in New York. Drake pulled the “Can I sing to her?” card out of Trey Songz bag of tricks during an encore of “Hold On,” and got very close to his one less lonely girl; decide for yourself whether “do you have a hotel room?” is a joke or a serious inquisition. (I’m torn.)
For a rapper who’s been too frequently labeled as “sad,” Drake certainly seems like he’s having fun. With a hip swivel, two-step, or simply flailing about like a seventh-grader who just won the Little League World Series, Drake is the personification of the phrase “dance like no one is watching.” And with the number of party jams and cultural phenomena he’s created that rival his more introspective musings, why shouldn’t he celebrate?
Since emerging behind a powerhouse like Lil Wayne, Drake has slowly been developing into his own brand of live performer, and now it’s clear he’s found his stride. If you’re a ticket holder counting down the days to your special night, be prepared for a lot of NWTS, a lot of dancing, and a lot of tank tops.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]