With girls in their glad rags, gloating guys splashing their cash on liquor and teenagers drowning in merchandise, 13,500 people were out to impress on this Saturday night in Manchester. This highly anticipated build up couldn’t be for any average artist – Drake was in the building.
By extremely popular demand to witness The Boy Meets World Tour, those who were lucky enough to bag a standing ticket (paying a whopping £104 at least) piled in as the doors blew open, racing to set close to their idol. With Drake’s music scene stretching from Rap to Hip-Hop and R&B, his three support acts DJ T-Jizzle, R&B duo Dvsn and rapper Young Thug took on each of these genres.
At 9:15pm, the arena was sent into a frenzy as we shared our first sight of the rap sensation, who has recently been titled the ‘World’s biggest recording artist’. Starting from the bottom, he arose like a god, surrounded by smoke before pausing to soak up the atmosphere. Quite the generic entrance soon took a dynamic turn as ‘Still Here’ kicked in and Drake bounced back and forth across the stage, not afraid to jump towards his fans cameras. He may otherwise be known as Drizzy or Champagne Papi but tonight Drake was here with a purpose.
“MY NAME IS DRAKE. I’M FROM TORONTO IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW. IT’S A SATURDAY NIGHT AND I’M HERE TO GIVE MANCHESTER THE BEST PARTY IN THE WORLD”
It’s evident that the 30-year-old Canadian is a born entertainer. From the get go, the artist acknowledged his audience and throughout he ensured that we weren’t ignored. The rapper dedicated a whole five minutes to picking out his fans from the crowd. This sent girls into hysterics as they flashed their phone lights desperately hoping that the ‘Controlla’ singer would notice them amongst thousands of others.
The Boy Meets World Tour promotes Drake’s latest studio album Views with songs such as ‘9’, ‘Faithful’ and ‘Keep the Family Close’. The night also featured some much loved throwbacks including ‘Marvin’s room’, ‘Successful’ and ‘Hold on we’re going home’ – which were well-received especially by day-one Drizzy fans who echoed every word. One thing for certain was that Drake definitely doesn’t mime. The live versions mirrored his recorded songs and Drake even showed off his fairly impressive falsetto range.
The highlight of the night (I may be bias) was the section which Drake dedicated to all of his Manchester girls. Four dancers joined the Grammy award winner to perform his pop tracks; ‘Take Care’, ‘Too Good’ and ‘Work’, featuring his ex-girlfriend Rihanna. This section got the females twerking along with not a single person sat in their seats.
“IF YOU EVER WANT TO IMPRESS A GIRL AT A PARTY, JUST PLAY RIHANNA!”
Being the prominent character he is, Drake didn’t need any fancy staging or props surrounding him. He could captivate thousands effortlessly with just one line of his vigorous lyrics. But the addition of the giant burning globe on the centre stage, shocking firework explosions and luminous lights changing colour and moving differently for each song, created a euphoric scene. The lights switched to pink and dropped down low, setting an intimate mood for when Drake performed ‘Hotline Bling’.
The energy reached a climax when Drake moved closer to the centre to perform his more intense rap tracks ‘Jumpman’ and ‘Pop Style’. When he began ‘Know Yourself’, fans prepared mosh pits ready for the chorus to drop as Drizzy told the crowd to “do whatever you gotta do for this one”. Drake later performed ‘Fake Love’ from his upcoming playlist More Life which is a popular play in the UK charts.
Throughout there was an even balance between Drake’s talking intervals and performances. Yet it was his audience interaction that made him stand out as a humble artist who despite his ever-growing fame and somewhat boastful lyrics, will forever be grateful for his roots and the success of his music.
“NO MATTER HOW BIG IT GETS, KEEP YOUR PEOPLE WITH YOU”
Rating – 5/5