Glowing drones, flying cars, CGI mermaids, and an NBA court-size stage that turns into an iPhone were a few of the touches that made Drake's Saturday night stop in Philadelphia the most 2018 arena concert of 2018.
Filing the first of two back-to-back dates at the Wells Fargo Center, the Torontonian coaxed out a number of Canucks living among us, rocking maple leaf gear in support of their favourite son. But the rapper whose Canadian passport reads Aubrey Graham didn't show up alone.
Most were really there to see Drake, who at 31 is confident enough in his powers to carry a 90-minute set without the aid of a band. Starting with the Kanye-needling Scorpion track "8 Out of 10," which saw him operating inside gauzy projection screens, Drake was this show's sole proprietor for much of the evening.
He wasn't hurting for material. Drake has racked up so many radio hits, in fact, that he opted to trim some into medleys. Slivers of "Both" and "Jumpman" found use in a call-and-response; elements of "For Free" and "The Motto" worked up to the re-intro of Migos, who joined Drake for shared hit "Versace."
Shifting between wait-for-the-drop bops and wistful crooning, Drake is a high-motor performer, though he relied on a backing track to fill in the blanks. Gadget-nerd spectacle filled in the rest, starting with a banana Runt-yellow replica Ferrari that floated around the lower bowl. Color-changing drones swarmed above Drake's head like a school of fish during "Elevate," while the space-age stage swapped its look from a busy iOS homescreen ("In My Feelings") to a tranquil ocean scene, complete with animated aqualadies ("Hotline Bling").