23 March 2017
Wed 22 Mar
SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Although Drake ends his show dancing round a massive, glowing orange orb in the middle of the crowd (like a kind of dancehall James & the Giant Peach), the Canadian rapper starts with the bare minimum of props – him alone on the vast Hydro stage, skipping and arm-waving through deep dry ice to Trophies and Started From The Bottom. Just him in a vest and tracksuit bottoms would probably have kept the crowd screaming his lyrics and waving their smartphones for over an hour, but he gives them plenty bangs and fireworks for their buck too. “You spent your hard-earned money tonight. This is not about me – this is a party about you!”, he shouts.
Drake is an affectionate entertainer, lovable and sometimes sweetly ridiculous. His relentless charm has him hitting on his audience with shout-outs to “my legendary babygirl in the front, rapping every word”, as well as “my medical staff” and “my security staff”. He’s not forgotten his roots, he tells us, singing John Legend covers in a restaurant, but also comfortably owns his position now as a pop super-power, a sensitive, emo-boy doing vocoder raps about weed, girl trouble and Hennessy.
Midway through, he drops two of his biggest and best hits, Hotline Bling and Hold On, We’re Going Home, accompanied by hundreds of balloons suspended from the ceiling, rolling in seductive sine waves and oscillating in synchronised dips and shapes, instantly triggering a sort of sexy moshpit, filled with swaying teenage fans. He blends rap, R&B and grime beats, with a cameo from South London MC Giggs, and twerking girls on podiums for a cover of his one-time on-off girlfriend Rihanna’s hit Work. Drizzy proves he’s a smooth operator, who can get his crowd very high with heart-on-sleeve, full of beans party vibes.
Read the review in The Herald here.