As 17,000 people feverishly chanted lyrics from his unblemished catalog, Drake knew he won the hearts and ears of New York City’s Madison Square Garden with his commanding performance Friday night (Aug. 24). With his Drake and the Three Migos Tour set to spend seven days in the city of Gotham, the Toronto rapper joyously beamed at the fact that he elevated from his days as a Little Brother-obsessed backpacker into a venerated rap talent in a span of 10 years.
“Life is a journey, you know? Ups and downs that’s how it works,” he told fans during his performance of “Emotionless.” I’ma tell you, though, as long as you keep God first and keep your family close, you’ll be good.” Blanketed by the warm and infectious energy of the crowd, Drake zoomed his way into “Elevate.” As he soared his way through the Scorpion standout, Drake’s magnetic energy instantly zapped the crowd, forcing fans to belt each and every line with gusto.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure New York City,” Drake said before segueing into his anti-hater anthem “Energy.” Fans buoyantly sang the hook alongside the 6 God in hopes of swatting all of the negative energy out of MSG. Then, the OVO loyalists were in for a surprise when Drake veered into his verse from Lil Baby’s “Yes Indeed.” Hovering from the sky was a yellow Ferrari that floated throughout the 100 and 200 sections of the arena.
The crowd reached a deafening crescendo when Drake decided to dip inside his bag of throwbacks. Enthralled by his gift of gab and penchant for surprises, fans instantly indulged in Drake’s hearty entree of bangers. From “Free Smoke” to “Headlines” to “For Free,” the rapper strung together an indelible run of fun, lighthearted heaters, which catered to his avid supporters.
With the Garden resting at the palm of his hands, a selfless Drizzy shared the shine with special guests Tory Lanez and his co-headliners, Migos. First, Drake brought out Lanez, who doused the crowd with a fiery rendition of “Shooters.” As Toronto’s golden kids torched the stage after once being embroiled in a muddy spat several years ago, watching Drake and Lanez join forces on music’s biggest stage was a joy for all rap fans.
Then, Drizzy tagged in his Atlanta brethren Migos for a second helping of madness. After already slinging an array of party bangers (“T-Shirt,” “Motorsport” and “Bad and Boujee”) during their initial set, the Atlanta triumvirate whipped up a spicy set while sharing the stage with Drake. First, the quartet hopped into “Walk It Talk It” before leaping into “Versace.” To satiate fans’ hunger pangs after originally skipping the record during their set, Migos dished out “Stir Fry.”
Once Migos concluded, Drake returned and lightened the mood with a series of R&B hits. First, he unleashed his Michael Jackson-assisted track “Don’t Matter to Me” before delving into a silky rendition of MJ’s “Rock With You.” The mood intensified when he skated into “After Dark” and “Jaded,” which tickled the fancy of happy couples in the room.
Though couples reveled in Drake’s decision to explore his slower records, he realized he needed to crank the energy back up and did so with his troupe of dancers. With “One Dance” and “Controlla” blaring through the speakers, Drake’s army of dancers roped their way through the dance-happy set before allowing the 6 God to disarm his More Life smash “Fake Love.”
Shortly after, Drake brought out a fan to shoot several shots for a chance at winning up to $25,000 in cash. To make the moment a special one, Drake called on New York Knicks guard Trey Burke to fill in for the young lady and help her win the bag of money. Though Burke connected on the free-throw attempt — which was worth $250 — he failed to capitalize on the $500 shot and the $25,000 one from half court.
With Drake’s set nearly coming to a close, he marched back into his Scorpion album and fed fans his Hot 100 chart toppers “Nice For What” and “In My Feelings.” Refusing to hit pause on his concert, Drake kept the party going with his guest verses from Bloc Boy’s “Look Alive” and Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.”
Drenched in sweat, he took a step back after “Sicko Mode” and shifted his attention to the big screen. There, a video montage highlighted his very beginnings with his team of 40, Future and Oliver. The two-minute clip was a reminder of how far Drake has come in order to became the titan he is.
After fans watched the video, Drake swiftly jumped into his final song of the night “God’s Plan.” With the time winding down, fans gave Drake all that they had to belt out the lyrics to his anthemic track. As confetti blew out from the stage, Drake left an endearing message for his fans.
“People try all kinds of shit to take me. People do all kinds of crazy shit but we stick together,” Drake said. I make music for you and you appreciate it. That means the world to me. That’s the reason I’m stage. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I’m a kid from Canada and I have seven nights at Madison Square Garden. Me and you built this together. It’s not just me.”