Drake Plays Intimate Dinner/Concert Following Raptors Game

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Kurtis Hooper/@kurthoop
Drake performs at Après Noir on Nov. 29, 2018.

Drake performed at the exclusive supper/concert event Après Noir Thursday (Nov. 29) night at Château Le Jardin, just north of Toronto, proving that people in cocktail attire will still abandon all decorum when one of the world’s biggest rap stars — and a beloved homegrown ambassador — is in the house.

When he finally hit the stage at 12:30 a.m. for 35 minutes (he had been at the Raptors-Wizards game in downtown Toronto earlier), glammed-out ladies in high heels and dresses and decked-out men in suits and collared shirts rushed the stage and stood on chairs at just about every table in the ostentatious ballroom that usually accommodates weddings.

"I thought this shit was a dinner. I didn’t even know people were turned up in here like this," Drake exclaimed after kicking of his set with “Started From The Bottom.” "I didn't know if I should come out with some slow jams or some shit, but I see you want to go all the way up tonight. I like this."

The Parentela family — father Carlo, son Julian, and daughter Natasha — who own Château Le Jardin reportedly paid $1 million (CAD) for Drake to headline the lavish dinner party. Drake was originally scheduled to perform in June.

The membership-optional series — 12 events for $19,700 — began in May with Robin Thicke, and continued with Jennifer Hudson in July, Shaggy in September, and Rob Thomas in October.

Nine-hundred-and-forty tickets are sold for each night, ranging in price from CAD $450 (no table or dinner, and a post 9 p.m. arrival) to $950 for a “tier 3” seat to the top level $2950, which includes Dom Perignon, caviar, a butler, and front-row seating. All tiered seating included dinner and open bar, plus a reception with fashion, art and music components.

The problem is once opener Jessie Reyez and Drake hit the stage, those who shelled out several thousands of dollars were no more privileged than anyone else. People rushed the stage, surrounded the tables; and there were no cordoned off “tiers” to ensure that those pricey “front row” seats didn’t have anyone standing in front of them. Concert-as-usual behavior.

Still any night Drake plays to less than a thousand people is an elite event. No doubt those who bought tickets for Après Noir had done so to see him, and not for an unremarkable dinner that didn’t include anything close to 24-carat gold flakes or black truffles. They were paying, instead, for the privilege of seeing an exclusive intimate concert by a massive artist.

The rest was a bonus.