Drake Shows Love to Future & Texas at Summer Sixteen Tour Opener
Drake and Future kicked off their Summer Sixteen tour at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin with one consistent theme: too many hits, not enough time. Following an opening set by Future, who had DJ Metro Boomin accompanying him onstage as he ran through his own hits, Drake lit up the night with a rapid succession of crowd favorites.
At 10:01 p.m., about 30 minutes after he was supposed to perform, the audience started a loud-but-brief “We Want Drake” chant. Not even half a minute after the chant fizzled out, the curtain dropped and Drake ascended from under the stage onto a high platform and began the show with the title track for the tour, “Summer Sixteen,” as the word “Revenge” blazed behind him on a large curved screen. Drake very quickly set the mood for the show, sweet-talking the Austin audience (with lots of shout-outs to the “ladies”), checking the time throughout the concert and promising to stick to the point: the music.
“I go by the name Drake, I come from a place called Toronto, Canada, but Texas is one of the most important places in the world to me, so it’s a real honor to stand here,” he said before explaining that he was in town to perform, not “talk your ear off.”
With his ambitious setlist -- he played parts of more than 50 songs -- there wasn’t really much time for talking anyway. After performing “9,” “U With Me?” and “Feel No Ways,” Drake paused to joke with the audience. “I just had to take some time to see who had the Views album,” he said. “I just had to know.”
And then he got serious, stating that “in Austin, Texas, we can’t slow it down,” before launching into the first of many rapidfire medleys of his hits and features. The first set alone included “6 God,” “Worst Behavior,” “Blessings,” and “I’m On One.” Throughout the night, the dynamic stage lit up with fireworks, flames and loud booms while the large curved screen at the back gave the show an edge with sequences of galaxies, aerial views of storms, and underwater shots. The set onstage also changed throughout the night, as platforms with display screens on the front, rose and fell, sometimes lifting Drake up to punctuate rap or at one point giving the stage the look of a jail as Drake rapped among raised platforms displaying with looked like prison bars.
“If you in love tonight, make some noise ‘cause this next one’s for you,” Drake announced before “Child’s Play,” a song that may be a subtle shout-out to Texas. The rapper was spotted in Houston last week, filming the video for “Child’s Play” at VLive, a strip club. While in town, he was also seen at Cheesecake Factory, which he references in the song with “Why you gotta fight me at Cheesecake/ You know I love to go there.”
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. During the brief interlude -- no more than three minutes, really -- Drake’s father, Dennis Graham, walked around ground-level seating, shaking hands with audience members as he passed by and stopping for the occasional picture or Snapchat video.
The already visually spectacular set was even more impressive during the second half of the show. Drake rose up from underneath the stage again and the hundreds of white balloons that had been hanging from the ceiling lit up in pink as the music for “Hotline Bling” began. He performed the song through a heady combination of light fog and the pink light up balloons undulating up and down from the ceiling at random, occasionally pulling out some of his famous dance movies from the song’s music video.
Following “Hotline Bling,” Drake declared, “I gotta see my people in Austin,” before stepping into a metal container that lifted him up and over the ground level audience in a semicircle as he sang “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
After an hour onstage solo, Drake finally performed “Grammys,” effectively bringing Future back onto the stage for a quick but energetic run-through of hits from their joint album, What a Time to Be Alive. Onstage, the rappers’ chemistry was easy to see as they performed hits like “Big Rings,” “Jumpman” and “I’m the Plug.” Before “Diamond’s Dancing” Drake took the time to shout out Future, explaining that “there’s only one person I could share this stage with.”
After about just 10 minutes onstage with Future, Drake’s next series of performances were clips of his songs with Rihanna, who the latest rumors says he’s now officially dating -- rumors Drake fed by saying “I wish I had her here” at the beginning of “Work.” He wrapped up that set with his more reggae and African-inspired songs, “Controlla” and “One Dance,” and then checked the time. “We’re at about an hour, 45 [minutes], should we go for it?” Talking to someone offstage, Drake asked, “You say it costs money?” before continuing with the show, claiming he’d “pay what it costs to be a boss.”
The next songs of the night were his most energetic of the show, as he launched into “Back to Back,” his Grammy-nominated diss track of rapper Meek Mill. After “Know Yourself,” and the audience cheering for half a minute, Drake asked, “Was that to tell me you want me to do more?” In return he demanded the crowd “be the loudest I hear you tonight” as he began “Energy.”
The night ended on a somewhat somber, but affectionate note in typical Drake fashion. He ended “Legend” with a repeat of the hook -- “Oh my God, Oh my God/If I die, I’m a legend” -- with just the audience and keyboards backing him, and then he had a message for the crowd.
Referencing “crazy” things that had been happening lately, Drake said, “Everyday you wake up is a blessing. You can make a change in your life or someone else’s.” With a promise to work on a new album and return to Austin, he concluded, “I go by the name of Drake, I come from the 6, but Austin, Texas, I love you more than you’ll ever know,” before descending underneath the stage for the last time that night.
The Summer Sixteen tour will continue throughout the U.S. into September, making its way back through Texas with two shows in Houston before ending in Vancouver.
Started From the Bottom
U With Me?
Feel No Ways
0 to 100
We Made It
I'm On One
Up All Night
Fire and Desire
Come and See Me
Faithful (with DVSN)
Hold On, We're Going Home
Grammys (with Future)
Scholarships (with Future)
Love Me (with Future)
I'm the Plug (with Future)
Big Rings (with Future)
Jumpman (with Future)
Diamonds Dancing (with Future)
Take Care/Too Good
Back To Back