Drake and Future
There are few bigger names in music than Drake these days, and he proved that when he and Future kicked off their second SoCal run of the month at the Forum on Tuesday night.
By the time Drake opened the main set of the Summer Sixteen Tour with the song of the same name and "Still Here," the old basketball arena was already packed with screaming fans from all walks of life. As "Started from the Bottom" began around 9:45, the crowd really lost its collective mind for the first time of the evening.
The Canadian star continued with "9" and "Feel No Ways" off of Views before switching gears to feature some of his bigger hits from previous albums like "Headlines," "Trophies," and "HYFR." Over the course of the first portion of the set, Drake's breaks between nearly every song generally consisted of talking about how amazing the crowd was, selling Los Angeles as his primary home outside of Toronto, and berating his keyboardist for playing too much and therefore "turning this into a B2K reunion or some shit."
The rapper and his high-dollar pyrotechnic and fog show went on to blast through some of his most well-known features, such as Big Sean's "Blessings" (into an abbreviated version of "All Me"), 2 Chainz's "No Lie," Migos' "Versace," French Montana's "Pop That" (into a quick rendition of one of the oldest songs of the night, "Over"), and DJ Khaled's "I'm on One." The entire montage ended with an instrumental tease of "Crew Love," but one of Take Care's finest tracks never came to fruition.
Following some more standard Aubrey Graham chatter, things slowed down just a bit for "With You" and "Child's Play," but things would never hit full-blown "Marvin's Room" during the first of three shows. Opener and fellow Canadian crooner Daniel Daley of dvsn joined the action for his verse on "Faithful" as Drake revealed for the first time that the carefully marked stage didn't just have sections that could raise into trophy podium-like arrangements but also a secret elevator to transport to and from the area below.
Upon returning to the stage, Drake slowly broke out into "Hotline Bling" as carefully arranged and choreographed spherical lights descended over the venue's entire floor to dance along with the track.
Arguably the coolest moment of the night happened when the performer left the stage in a floating metal basket to individually shoutout dozens of fans while "Hold On, We're Going Home" played in the background. Was it cheesy? Absolutely. But it was also a spectacle to behold as Drake appeared to float through a sea of bobbing balls of light to personally thank the people who spent their hard-earned cash on tickets to see him.
With the choreographed spheres now an official part of the show (rather than just some strange futuristic decor, as they'd originally appeared), Drake finished out his first solo hour of the concert with everything from "The Motto" and "Right Hand" to Fetty Wap's "My Way" and DJ Khaled's "For Free." It should also be noted that Drake's wardrobe choice of a Derek Fisher Lakers jersey seemed particularly fitting given Fisher's love triangle saga featuring Matt Barnes, although that was probably lost on most of the audience.
It was then that Drake declared the Forum ready to take the party to the next level and used "Grammys" to introduce Future.
Up until Drake walked out on stage for the first time, most people presumed that Future would come out first. It just made more sense for Mr. Hendrix to use his relentless energy to build the crowd's excitement for Drake's more anticipated set. Instead, Future essentially served as an intermission and a chance for much of the crowd to safely go to the bathroom without missing their favorite Drake tune.
That's not to say Future wasn't good. He's just not as big of a draw as the other half of the Summer Sixteen Tour. While the Atlanta native was putting on one of the best hip hop performances of the year at the Observatory six months ago, Drake was (disappointingly) headlining Coachella last year. Although most fans danced and sang along to Future's features in tracks like A$AP Ferg's "New Level," Ty Dolla $ign's "Blasé," and Ace Hood's "Bugatti," the cheers weren't nearly as loud as just about anything Drake did.
When Future launched into "At the Same Damn Time" and "Move That Dope" early in his half-hour solo set, a good portion of the crowd was still in line for beers or bathrooms following Drake's exit. Even "Thought it was a Drought" didn't get nearly the pop one would expect due to the roughly 3:1 ratio of Drake fans to Future fans.
For the second half of his set, Future hit some higher notes with the audience by dropping "Fuck Up Some Commas" into his Weeknd-driven "Low Life" and "March Madness" (which strangely included a request for the audience to wave lighters and cell phones despite the quick tempo of the track) before Drake rejoined him on the stage for "Big Rings" and "Jumpman" off of their collaborative mixtape.
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With Future's job for the night complete, Drake told the crowd he was going to take them back to a party in his homeland and kicked things off with Rihanna's "Work" and "Too Good." As the audience hit peak excitement once again for tunes like "One Dance" and "Back to Back," Drake explained that they'd already passed the Forum's 11 p.m. curfew by quite a bit. Rather than cut the show short (he'd previously asked the audience if they wanted the short show or the long one), Drake declared that he'd pay whatever the venue fined him for going over curfew even if it meant performing for free.
The clock crept toward 11:30 as the superstar busted out fan favorites like "Pop Style," "Know Yourself," and "Energy" before the two-hour set finally concluded with If You're Reading This It's Too Late's "Legend" and one of the longest and most comprehensive appreciation speeches ever seen in an LA concert.
Ultimately, some fans were a bit disappointed that the duo didn't have any special guests up their sleeve for the first night at the Forum, as associated artists like Rihanna or the Weeknd would've taken the show to the next level, but just about everyone felt as though they got their money's worth at the very least. After all, they got to see Drake and Future perform (kind of) together for two hours. What a time to be alive.