Last Sunday, the two hottest rap artists in the entire free world touched down in the capital of Tennessee. Drake and Future kicked off their Summer Sixteen tour at Bridgestone Arena, downtown, in the heart of Music City. Too many hits – not enough time, describes what both artists entail. Late on arrival, the light complected Canadian finally appeared, 45 minutes after his slated time slot. The crazed fans were relieved.
The curtain dropped and Drake ascended from under the stage onto a high platform and began the show singing, a lot. He then maneuvered into the title track for the tour, as the word ‘Revenge’ blazed behind him on a large curved screen. Drake very quickly set the mood for the show—sweet-talking and shouting out to the ladies. With his ambitious set-list, he played parts of more than 50 songs, periodically talking and joking with the audience.
He got serious, launching into many rapid-fire medleys of hits and features. The first set alone included ‘Worst Behavior,’ ‘Blessings’ and ‘I’m On One.’ Throughout the night, the dynamic stage lit up with fireworks, flames and loud booms—while the screen gave the show an edge with sequences of galaxies, aerial views of storms and underwater shots. Platforms with display screens on the front rose and fell, frequently changing throughout the night.
Drake wrapped up the first act of the show with ‘Faithful,’ descending underneath the stage as Dvsn (the show’s opening act) entered and sang his own verse of the song. Throughout the evening, Drake shouted out his father, Dennis Graham, among other family members in attendance from down the road in Memphis. He referenced Tennessee as one of the most important places in the world to him.
The already visually spectacular set was even more impressive during the second half of the show. Drake rose from underneath the stage once again, and the hundreds of white balloons hanging from the ceiling lit up in pink as the music for ‘Hotline Bling’ began. A combination of light fog and pink light-up balloons undulating up and down from the ceiling artfully dominated that stretch. Following the massive hit song, Drake stepped into a metal container that lifted him over the audience in a semicircle as he sang ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home,’ all the while dishing out random shout outs to fans.
Following an opening set by Future, who had the ‘coolest deejay in the world,’ DJ Esco, accompanying him on stage as he ran through his own hits, Drake lit up the night with a rapid succession of crowd favorites, including clips of his songs with Rihanna. Of course ‘Work’ was numero uno. He wrapped up that set with the reggae inspired songs ‘Controlla’ and ‘One Dance.’ He then checked the time, mentioning he didn’t want to leave his people. So he kept going, saying he‘d pay the cost to be the boss.
After about another hour of solo-dolo, Drake effectively brought Future back out for a quick but energetic run-through of hits from their joint album, What a Time to Be Alive. The rappers’ chemistry was easy to see as they performed hits like ‘Big Rings’ and ‘Jumpman.’ Drake took time to shout out Future, explaining that there was only one person he could share the stage with.
He did ‘Back to Back,’ his Grammy-nominated diss-track of fellow rapper Meek Mill. ‘Know Yourself’ followed. With the audience cheering feverishly, he provided ‘Energy.’ Drake ended the night with ‘Legend’ and a promise to work on new music before returning. Thereafter, he descended underneath the stage for the final time.
The Summer Sixteen tour will continue throughout the country into next month. Surely, the duo will continue to provide fans their money’s worth – no doubt about it.