During a sit-down interview with Canadian journalist Jian Ghomeshi, Drake shared an unexpected gripe: he’s not the rap game Eeyore some make him out to be. “’I’m so sick of people saying that I’m lonely and emotional, and associating me with this longing for a woman,” he said. “I hate that. It bothers me so much ’cause I do make music that makes you feel something [ED NOTE: Loneliness? Emotion?], but I’m actually not that guy in real life. I’m a happy person.”
Disagree if you will, but last night (Oct. 28) on the Brooklyn stop of his Would You Like A Tour? at Barclays Center, the rap star was all stage leaps, graciousness, Drake-hands and euphoria. He was all about making you feel good.
We went into his concert fully expecting to pen a list of reasons a Drake show will have you all in your feelings. There will be tears, we’d said. But the underlying sentiment of his minimalist statement-show had less to do with unbridled emotion (see Yeezus tour for contrast), more with Drake “making it” and the exuberance that begets.
Before that could happen:
1) PartyNextDoor performed an abridged set to a sparse crowd. Guy who came late: “Did Future go on yet?” ME: “No, just PartyNextDoor.” HIM: Who’s that? [Awkward silence] So Future didn’t go on?
2) Future made us turn up and want to tear up to the tunes of “Racks on Racks,” “Tony Montana,” “Neva End,” et. al
3) Though less physically effervescent than usual, Miguel was magical nonetheless, closing his lengthy set with a little known modern classic called “Adorn.”
Drake, meanwhile, spent a lot of time cheesing, playfully mean-mugging, basking in the light of the Center that gentrification built and telling us why he was so happy to be there. Here, a few things that made Drake happy.
He was happy to celebrate his belated birthday with New York City.
Drake already extinguished his candles in his hometown on Oct. 24. His birthday conveniently fell on the day of his Toronto show. But we all know black birthday celebrations can last days, months even. Drake took this time to make the BK show his official party because “New York is one of the first places to ever support my music.”
He was happy to perform every track on Nothing Was The Same.
Drake kicked off his fake-birthday-concert-just-for-Brooklyn with the album opener “Tuscan Leather” and ran through his latest project in full, including “Furthest Thing,” “Own It” and the cuffing season bat-signal “Come Thru.” Of course, “Started From The Bottom” was planted toward the end of the show because… listen to the hook.
He was so happy when he performed “Pop That.”
He was happy to gaze upon Jhene Aiko, who was barefoot and dressed in a see-through get-up.
As the R&B newcomer spread her light vocals over the latter half of “Come Thru” and “From Time,” Drake sat and soaked it in, later kissing her on the forehead and letting her rock solo, center-stage and fairy-like. He also clarified that “you deserve rounds” “means we’re having sex more than one time.”
He was happy to gyrate with Dominican Shayla.
He brought her to the stage after “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” She fondled him. He was sad to see her leave, happy to watch her walk away.
He was happy to have friends in high places.
Like Busta Rhymes, who performed one song, rather winded, to help celebrate Drake’s b-day. And Jay-Z. Drake told Hov before the show: “I’ma go to Brooklyn tonight and do it justice.”
He was happy to tease us with some of his best hits.
The intermission saw his DJ Future the Prince playing (relatively) older tracks like “Successful” and “Over,” reminding us that Drake can, in fact, feature Drake.
He was happy to gift NYC with a new track, “Trophies.”
He was happy to make like Hov and shout out audience members (for eternity) while floating in the middle of the arena. A sampling:
“I see this whole row sitting down like you’re too cool for school.”
“I see you with the ‘We love C. Papi’ sign.”
“I see you throwing up the OVO.”
“Is this like a couples’ outing right here?”
“I see you with the New York University sweater.”
“You right there in the orange…”
“You with the Canada flag…”
He was happy to let us in.
The sob stories weren’t glaring, but it wouldn’t be a Drake show without heartstrings. “Too Much” is still beautiful in its simplicity and candidness, though we only got the first verse.
He was happy to bring out A$AP Mob to rep Harlem.
And they, in turn, were elated. A fitted fell to the stage, elbows bumped, and both A$AP Ferg (“Work,” “Shabba Ranks”) and Rocky (in what looked like an ankle-length scarf) brought the energy back. At one point, Drake dubbed Rocky both “iconic” and “legendary,” something you’re free to contest.
He was happy we all could’ve been anywhere in the world, but we chose to be there.
He said the Brooklyn stop was unlike any other, that he’d remember it forever. “I know it might be a while before we see each other again,” he said, knowing very well that it’s the furthest thing from truth and he was just being nice. —Clover Hope (@clovito)
Photo Credit: Getty Images