Drake @ Rod Laver Arena

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Having previously seen Drake perform in the US on his Club Paradise Tour a couple of years back to a raucous crowd, I was hoping the Melbourne crowd would deliver the same level of enthusiasm. Of course, Melbourne did not disappoint.

It’s taken six years for Drake to make it to Australia, and you could definitely feel the pent-up anticipation in the sold-out arena. When Drake emerged on stage around 9.30pm in a Magic Johnson tee and Timberlands to the blaring horns of Trophies”, the crowd went off.

With the unexpected release of his mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late only a couple of weeks prior, this tour was perfectly timed for him to show Australia why he’s one of the biggest rappers in the game. During the 90-minute show made up of a massive set list, I don’t think anyone could have left the gig refuting his level of talent. Throughout the show, Drake drew from his extensive back catalogue performing most of his popular hits including “The Motto”, “Take Care”, and “Best I Ever Had”, as well as a number of songs he makes appearances on such as ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” and Nicki Minaj’s “Truffle Butter”. He was also joined on stage at different times throughout the show by OB O’Brien and 2 Chainz.

There’s no denying that Drake is one smooth guy. Early in the night, he told the audience “I’m not asking to change your life… I’m just asking to be a part of it.” It’s a line I’d normally cringe at, but coming from Drake it somehow sounded genuine. It honestly felt like he was serenading each member of the audience throughout the night and it’s clear that he’s worked out exactly how to woo the crowd. From stating that this is one of the best nights of his life, to promising the crowd he’ll go as long as we can, he knows exactly how to make the audience feel like they’re special and unique, despite the fact that he says the same lines during each performance.

The definite highlight though was seeing him suspended in the air and flying through the crowd on a trapeze/crane-like mechanism to a podium in the middle of the audience. Here he continued showering praise on the audience, individually picking out people in the crowd to compliment, “I see you at the back”. From this spot, he sung one of his biggest tracks “Hold On, We’re Going Home” but switched up the lyrics and led the crowd in a chorus of “Fuck it, I’m not going home” and it felt like there wasn’t one person in the crowd who wasn’t enthusiastically singing along.

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Later in the show, Drake confided to the audience that this night is quite a special one for him, as we’re the first faces he’s seen since he got the news that all 17 tracks of his mixtape made the Billboard charts. A pretty amazing feat considering there was no real publicity prior to the tape being dropped.

He capped off the show with the crowd favourite “Started from the Bottom”. Now, while I’m a big fan of Drake for his music I’d be lying if I didn’t admit the soft spot I have for him because of his role as Jimmy on Degrassi. So when images of his Degrassi days and photos of him and Spinner (Shane Kippel) played on the screen in the background during the track, I may have squealed a little. The guy has sure come a long way from his time as Jimmy Brooks.

Even though he didn’t play an encore, I definitely didn’t leave the show disappointed after his extensive set. Hearing the positive remarks from other concertgoers as we left the venue, I think it’s very unlikely we’ll have to wait another six years before another Drake tour comes down under.

THE BREAKDOWN:

Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Latest release: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, released 12 February 2015
Sounds like: Kendrick Lamar, Tyga
Say what?: Someone in the audience made a parody shirt of Drake’s mixtape title with “If you’re reading this, you’re in Melbourne” written on it, which he gave to Drake who took it with him backstage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lKH5dMNcq0

Till next time, Erin

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