Standing in the very centre of London’s vast The O2 – especially rebranded to The O3 for the occasion – Drake triumphantly kickstarts his seven night residency.
Reinventing the stage as a basketball court sized platform in the middle of the arena, his Assassination Vacation tour offers Drake the chance to interact directly with his fans. Much of the show sees him pick out individuals in the crowd, and challenge half the crowd to out-rap the other.
Commanding the huge stage with ease, Drake creates a remarkably intimate atmosphere in an otherwise vast space. He bounds around with an intoxicating mixture of confidence and pure, unadulterated enjoyment.
The 42 (yes… 42!) strong setlist spans his full catalogue, effortlessly jumping from his early days to his biggest hits. An early appearance of Started From The Bottom feels particularly poignant blasting across the career-defining The O2. He’s come a long way from his Toronto upbringing and early venture into TV.
And Drake’s influence is vast. Welcoming some serious heavy hitters as special guests – not least UK grime hero Giggs and stateside megastar Future – it’s clear each of his seven performances are set to be unique.
The first night of his residency unfolds as a celebration of music, of the ever-growing rap scene, and of his affinity to London. Describing the city as his home, it’s clear he’s ready to put his all into these series of shows. From welcoming rising and established British stars, to projecting a huge Union Jack onto the floor of the stage, his professed love of England’s capital is far more than empty words.
It’s all pulled together by a spectacular production, from floating cars to a basketball challenge interlude. Already a top class entertainer, the swirling stage projections, lights and pyrotechnics elevate Drake further into superstardom. Lights attached to drones flicker and dance above his head, while a scorpion rises from the sand under his feet.
What could have overwhelmed Drake’s mostly one-man performance instead provides the backdrop for pure showmanship, one that retains authenticity and adds a huge dose of world class entertainment.
Drake continues his UK residency at London’s O2 on the following dates:
2 April 2019 – The O2, London
4 April 2019 – The O2, London
5 April 2019 – The O2, London
8 April 2019 – The O2, London
9 April 2019 – The O2, London
11 April 2019 – The O2, London
Remaining tickets to see Drake in London are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk