I am excited to jump forward in time thirty years to see if "living legend" Drake is on his 46th album, started a shoe company, or became a scientologist. Will he hop on the Super Bowl halftime show and our kids will tell us he is too old-school, or will the main stream master have them bumping to some song called Left My Jet on Jupiter and mean that?
The first night of Drake in Denver feels like the most hyped party of the year. The crowds arrive early to catch openers Roy Woods and DVSN who were like the cherry on top of the Drake sundae that was my Saturday night. DVSN, Drake's R&B younger brothers from the 6, have been creating quite a buzz around their album released earlier this year with seductive songs like "Hallucinations" and "Too Deep". Front man's, Daniel Daley, voice is able to carry a note and speak with some interest, but his isn't leaving us with much of an impact. He joins Drake's stage during "Faithful", but is somewhat of a let down after Drake's energy lingered on the stage. I'll wait until he comes to town alone to decide what he really has to offer.
After a 52 minute delay of beer drinking and chatting with the extremely diverse crowd around me, the house lights lower and four beams of light search the stage to the first beat lines of "Summer Sixteen". Finally the lights blend together and draw the crowd's eyes to the Vancouver born rap super power. Dwarfed by a 40 foot curved screen dropping diamonds, but still managing to look larger then life, Drake darts around the stage from left to right in a way of searching for something or just making sure everyone can get a good look at his cheesing' smile. After versing through "Still Here", he humbly introduces himself for those who "may not know" and let us know he has a bet on if Denver would be craziest crowd they play for, leading to 34 full seconds of cheering and thunder.
Now, don't get me wrong, I know Denver is LIT. I know we are the greatest city; something different from the bigger East fans in a way that is noticeable. However, after being told in between every other song that we are the best show of the tour and the premium version of a crowd. It was hard to tell if he was spitting well versed lines or if he just wasn't handling Colorado weed very well and didn't have any original ideas to get the crowd pumped. I am sure the second night in Denver smashed the first, and Austin was told that no one would beat them at the beginning of the tour. Lines like that irk me, but its Drake, I'll take the compliment.
He reminds us that he can sing, and breaks down with some emotion to "Feel No Way". But he lets that pass pretty quickly by blaming it on his DJ, "Denver doesn't want to be all down, they are trying to go up. Let's take some shots." Drake is like the arrogant kid on a football team that is just so great at everything, that people think whatever he says is brilliant, correct, and hilarious. Who is to say it isn't correct?
Another brilliant thing Drake has done, is surround himself by people who match or exceed him in creativity and hype. His production team is top of the line. They are innovators and complete an experience worth paying for. Six LED screen platforms create two rows of dynamic, transforming sets. They swivel back and forth, they rise and fall with Drake on top of them, and they complete the graphics found on the curved 40 foot high screen in the background. During a moment of pure adrenaline, Drake calms the crowd instantly, while a single hot pink balloon dropped to his ear level for him to whisper sweet nothings to. He retreats as it flies back to the ceiling just in time for an army of magenta balloons to seemingly free fall just to be snapped back up and down to the opening beat of Hotline Bling where at least 15 people around me break into his goofy knee-slapping dance. The feeling is unparalleled, the spheres creates magic throughout the entire show. They set the mood with color changes and create waves as Drake flies above the crowd to shout out to people wearing the "Revenge", "Views", and "Summer Sixteen" tour merch (all of which were very underwhelming). I would love to know how many of those balloons broke over the course of the tour.
Around 11PM, an hour into Drake's endless discography, he breaks into Grammies as Future slowly rises from a trap door repping an Avalanche jersey. Talk about the hype! The crowd goes wild as Drake leaves us with his partner in crime and hands the beats over to DJ Esco. Let the marathon begin. Future is sprinting through his bangers, making sure the crowd gets to bounce to all their favorites. A billowing of fog encapsulates him as he raps his verse in A$AP Ferg's "New Level". Later, he has four dancers, in all white, join him on stage; I swear they were dancing double beats per minute, while Future was wiping sweat off of his face and singing about every other line. Maybe its the Colorado air? During March Madness, he has the crowd shine their lights while cops smoking and guns cover the screen.
Finally, Drake comes back out of the floor in a Von Miller jersey with very hot flames popping off like fireworks and probably burning the ends of Future's dreads. They go through a great version of "Jumpman", Future peaces out, and the flames keep burning. At this point, I think of how Drake invited Big Sean to join one of the last stops on his tour. Although we are still little Denver, I held up my hopes that Rihanna would join him for "Controlla", and although she doesn't, he still has us give RiRi a standing ovation.
I was feeling way up and blessed for getting to experience Drake's concert, and like he lets us know, we deserved it. I appreciate that he reminds us that the mixture of color in the crowd proves that there are not differences in race. We can all join together to enjoy commonalities and he calls us to bring this into our daily lives. On that sentimental note, he jumps into "Legend", says goodbye, and exits through the trap door reminding us over and over that he IS legendary in true Drake fashion. I'll wait until he is 59 jamming on Neptune with my kids to decide if that's the truth. For now, I will keep replaying the dancing balloons in my head.
Words: Theresa Dixon // Images: Milo Lee Hickman (All Rights Reserved)