By Jordan Yeager
November 3, 2018
Rogers Arena looked decidedly different than usual. Instead of a stage set up to one side, tucked away and giving some spectators an unquestionably better view than others, the arena’s centre had been transformed into a massive platform, allowing Drake to interact with the thousands who came to hear him perform. In his own words, though, this night wasn’t about him – it was about all of us sharing an experience, right then and there.
Part of that experience was the aforementioned stage itself. What could have been a boring show – think Drake running back and forth across an essential field for two hours, half the time with his back to you – was made into a multimedia experience replete with visuals and pyrotechnics. At the beginning of the show, a fire even started at the stage’s corner. The display’s safety? Questionable. Its entertainment value? Through the roof.
Drake’s musical catalogue is huge, and instead of choosing a handful of hits to focus on, he took a more indecisive-friend-with-the-aux-cord role, bouncing from 15-second snippet to 15-second snippet. The crowd’s energy never waned, though – his fan base clearly knows his songs well, and they sang along to every word right on beat. Because of the extensive setlist, the show seemed to go on for hours, and Drake repeatedly told the crowd that he would continue performing as long as they wanted – or needed – him to. From “0 to 100 / The Catch Up” to “Controlla” to “Mob Ties” and “Know Yourself,” there was a wide range of songs from all walks of his career.
Drake is a performer at heart, whether through music, acting, or otherwise, and at his series of Vancouver shows, he made this evident. At one point, someone threw a bra onstage and Drake showed his gratitude by saying it was the “biggest bra” he’d ever seen. He brought people out to shoot free throws with cash prizes of $200, $500, and $25,000. Dancers dressed in basketball jerseys and thongs were stars of the show in their own right. At one point, a life sized Ferrari balloon floated through the crowd. When tens of thousands of people show up to see you in a city you’ve touted as your second home, you make sure not to disappoint, and the performance art aspect of this tour shows that Drake knows this.
Plus, all three of the Migos actually showed up.