Better Than: Bad decisions
If you’re Drake, and it’s your birthday, and you’re celebrating with a sold-out show at Barclays Center with “friends and family” that include Busta Rhymes, Jamie Foxx, and the A$AP Mob, and your mottos are YOLO and HYFR, you can do whatever the fuck you want. Which is exactly what Drizzy Drake did last night on the New York stop of his Would You Like a Tour?: right before “305 to My City” off his recently-released sophomore effort Nothing Was the Same, he ascended from the stage on a giant circular catwalk suspended about twenty feet above the floor. He then spent 15 or so minutes moving from one side of the arena to the other, shouting out to members of the audience.
“I see you with the Big Dog shirt on,” “I see you section 209,” “Guy in the Comme des Garcon sweatshirt and shit, are you on a couples outing? Is this a date?” “Look at those Wall Street motherfuckers. They call each other up like, ‘Dude, you got your button-up and your briefcase for the Drake show tonight?” Quite frankly, it seemed like a waste of time he could’ve used giving us our money’s worth, until Aubrey Drake Graham was standing right above our craned necks. You could see the soles of his Air Jordans. Not the same as getting a vaguely personalized shout-out, but thrilling nonetheless.
Drake puts on a spectacular show that’s only gotten bigger, better, and admittedly a bit more heavy-handed with time. During set closer “Started From the Bottom,” for example, he climbed to the top of another circular walkway onstage–he even assumed a Jesus-on-the-cross position while holding the ladder railings to descend backstage–and during “Hold On We’re Going Home,” he was projected onto giant screens in back of him, bathed in puffy clouds and biblical light.
In his defense, Drake delivered on all the self-mythologizing with a tight, fluid set list of tracks almost entirely from NWTS and then some, like recruiting A$AP Ferg and the rest of the Mob for a “Shabba” shitshow and bringing opener Future back onstage for his Auto-tuned ballad “Honest”. Drake also fleshed out his new songs with singer Jhene Aiko, whose voice seeped into the spaces between Drake’s verses and touring DJ Future the Prince’s majestically cold, hard beats like a warm drink after a fall day outside. The absence of just a few more Take Care cuts wasn’t conspicuous (even though I overheard one audience member hoping Nicki Minaj would show up for “Make Me Proud”), but it was a bit strange that Drake’s touring disc jockey Future the Prince skipped over that record entirely for his DJ interlude, which included songs from ’09 and ’10 like “Successful,” “Uptown,” and “Over.” No matter: by the time smoke started pouring out of Prince’s booth and the sensual opening kicks of “Hold On” with it, Take Care was so 2011.
It would be a mistake not to mention opener Miguel, who set the night’s bar pretty high. Decked out in his usual ripped white jeans, flannel wrapped around his waist, and a leather jacket, Miguel crooned and split his way through a professionally-executed selection of his ’80s-informed R&B from last year. Backlit by a flashing wall of incandescent stage lights, Miguel cut a number of star poses–crouches, spins, taking off the leather jacket–without losing his seriously sexy composure, but with a sense of humor: after asking “Anybody need a drink right now?” he segued into Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” and then finally “How Many Drinks.” He even set the tone for the evening, asking “Raise your hands if you’re single ’cause you made a mistake.” Now that’s surely something Drizzy can identify with, even if he’s suspended high above everyone else.
Overheard:“This is fucking sick!” – Girl who almost fell off her chair dancing
Random Notebook Dump: Nothing like an enormous metal structure hanging over your head to make you appreciate being alive.
Tuscan Leather (Verse 1)
Tuscan Leather (Verse 3)
Wu-Tang Forever/Own It
No New Friends
I’m On One
Love Me (ft. Future)
Honest (ft. Future)
Same Damn Time (ft. Future)
Come Thru (ft. Jhene Aiko)
From Time (ft. Jhene Aiko)
Hold On We’re Going Home
305 to My City
Work (ft. ASAP Ferg)
Shabba (ft. the ASAP Mob)
Fuckin’ Problems (ft. ASAP Rocky)
Started From the Bottom
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 29, 2013