Drake & Future September 11, T-Mobile Arena
“You want more? Oh, I got more. Hakkasan doesn’t start jumping off until 1:30 anyway,” Drake told a sold-out T-Mobile Arena crowd Sunday night, around 11:35 p.m.. He was two hours deep into his set with co-headliner Future, at a concert that seemed longer than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Doors opened at 6:30 p.m., and I definitely hadn’t expected to be there that long.
After the openers, Drake hit the stage sharply at 9:30 with “Summer Sixteen,” from which the tour takes its name. The crowd was immediately lit, as he hit them with a barrage of hits, following up with “Still Here” and “Started From the Bottom.” I was fortunate enough to be standing next to the city’s biggest Drake-Stan, who came off as a mild-mannered Avis customer service rep by day and a “How to Dance Like Hotline Bling” YouTube tutorial master at night.
Drizzy wisely employed a strategy of balancing out the set the same way he does his catalog: half club bangers, half mellow romantics. As an extended mix of the World Famous Supreme-team sampled “Feel No Ways” played, he suddenly cut it off, playfully berating the keyboard player with, “I’m not here to do no f*cking slow jams tonight! This is not The Isley Brothers reunited or whatever!” Then he launched into another batch of hits.
It became evident just how many huge songs Drake has when he did a three-minute medley of “Worst Behavior,” “Versace,” “Blessings” and “Pop That,” teasing the hooks and barely touching the verses. Any of those might have been his biggest song during different stages of his career, but tonight they were footnotes in a setlist of even bigger benchmarks.
The greatest feat came during “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” during which Drake rose above the crowd, surrounded by colorful floating balls. The music muted out for me, and all I could hear was Gene Wilder singing “Pure Imagination” as Drizzy levitated in his great glass elevator.
An hour in, I’d almost forgotten that Future was also billed on this tour. Then suddenly Future came ascending from the bottom of the stage, taking the crowd to “level 11,” with turnt-up anthems like “Bugatti,” “Move That Dope” and “Same Damn Time.”
“If you’ve got a pair of Gucci flip-flops, make some noise,” Future commanded. Apparently this is only a small cross-section of the population.
It wasn’t long before Drake returned and the two performed tracks from their album What a Time to Be Alive, like “Big Rings” and “Jumpman.” Drake then took the stage solo once again, and it was at this point that fatigue started to set in.
If Drake’s mission was to prove to the crowd that he has one of the most recognizable catalogs ever, he achieved it. Though fans surely felt like they got their money’s worth, the performance could have benefitted from some tighter curation.