I’m inside Aria when Drake and his entourage walk by. For a moment, the Toronto megastar and I are close enough to rub elbows, and then he disappears in a flash. It’s the second night of Jewel’s opening weekend, and something tells me Drake is headed that way, too.
It’s the last I see of him until 2:15 a.m., when he takes the stage as the brand-new club’s surprise guest. “I’m gonna stay on this stage as long as you want me to stay on this stage,” he says to the shimmering room packed with entranced partiers, most of whom weren’t expecting to see Drake tonight, let alone catch a full-on live performance from one of music’s biggest names.
The venue glows from the sea of lit-up iPhone screens. Drake delivers one hit after another—“Energy,” “Know Yourself,” “Back to Back,” “Jumpman,” and “Popstyle”—performing far longer than the average club set lasts. This is one of those had-to-be-there nights.
“I’m not leaving, I’m just gonna go have a drink,” Drake says at the end of his set. “Y’all have a good night. I love y’all.”
As he fades into the club near 3 a.m., the party is still in full swing, bodies moving on the floor to a mix of nostalgic hip-hop. It’s an explosive night for Jewel’s opening weekend, one that’s already solidified a new spot to see and be seen. You never know who you might run into.