Car windshields were frosty in the Tacoma Dome parking lot Wednesday night, but inside the Dome, ladies were dressed scantily, as if it were summer, and Toronto singer/rapper Drake was loose and animated in a tank top.
“I feel really good tonight,” Drake declared. “I just got a massage — let’s do this!”
He sang and rapped for hours with hardly any banter, muscular arms flapping as tens of thousands of fans screamed for the 27-year-old pop idol.
Early on, Drake said he wouldn’t talk much, that his concert would be about music. He performed often in silhouette in front of a wide, rectangular light display showing color fields. The colors matched his songs’ vibes, and helped the music sink in.
His set list was loaded with hits from his four-year career and great new album, “Nothing Was The Same.” Highlights included “Started From the Bottom,” with its lurching, unstoppable beat paired with a full fireworks display and a moody duet, “From Time,” with singer Jhené Aiko, who was a relaxing presence on stage. Aiko isn’t famous yet, but seems like she will be soon.
The three-piece backing band wisely avoided playing too many notes, letting prerecorded tracks do much of the instrumental work. It was a smart move that limited the echoes in the giant Tacoma Dome. For an arena show, the sound was tight.
Throughout the evening, Drake seemed beside himself. He said he planned to stay in town for two more days and have a good time in Seattle. At the end of the show he said it was one of the best nights of his life.
Maybe he was being sincere. Or maybe his enthusiasm was the same kind of disingenuous showmanship he displayed when he brought a local lady on stage and tenderly sang “Hold On We’re Going Home,” complimenting her body, then, shifting to pimp mode as she walked offstage, loudly declared he didn’t care about her.
But it was hard to hate him for his narcissism and insincerity when the hits kept coming in flurries, the sound was so nailed down and the pyrotechnics and stage design were so bold and colorful.
There’s a reason Drake’s in love with himself. He’s awesome.
The opening acts, not so much: Partynextdoor (very Drakelike, also from Toronto), Future (Atlanta rap star who did a too-short 15 minute set) and the singer Miguel, with a loud rock band that trampled his subtle hit “Adorn.”