While Justin Timberlake borrows Michael Jackson’s magic, Miguel studies the pages of Prince’s spell book.
When the R singer took the stage Saturday at the Sprint Center as the opener for Drake’s “Would You Like a Tour,” it was clear he is not your average crooner. Tight pants, leather fringe coat, the live band (the drummer, RJ Kelly, is a KC native) and moves hotter than Mick Jagger? Miguel is a rock star.
His 40-minute set was proof that the Grammy-nominated singer is no one-hit wonder. His catalog goes beyond radio favorites like “How Many Drinks.” And yes, the crowd went crazy when he did his parts of J. Cole’s “Power Trip” and Wale’s “Lotus Flower Bomb,” but he doesn’t rest on the hooks of popular rap songs.
Rarely do you see a packed arena, waiting for a headlining rapper, all on their feet for the opener, singing along to the words of a sultry song like “All I Want Is You.” But it happened. By the time Miguel got to his big finish, “Adorn,” the audience was mesmerized.
Until he mentioned Drake. His name sent the arena into a state of fan-demonium. And despite Drake’s reputation for being a sensitive rapper who appeals only to the ladies, the crowd included plenty of fellas.
When he finally took the circular stage and started rapping “Tuscan Leather,” the lengthy intro on his current and third album, “Nothing Was the Same,” nearly every person in the building rapped along. This isn’t a radio hit. It’s a lyrically tricky masterpiece. Yet Drake had the better part of a sold-out crowd hanging on to every word.
This “emo-emcee” that critics like to poke fun at did not move the crowd to tears during his 95-minute set. In fact, it was more of a nonstop party, the kind where you never sit down and scream along the words until you lose your voice.
From “Headlines” and “Wu-Tang Forever” to his verses on “Pop That,” “I’m on One” and “Versace,” it was a constant reminder that he really is hip-hop’s “It” guy. You can’t get through a fun night at the club without hearing Drake.
It’s no wonder Kanye West had called this era of hip-hop Drake season. In fact, West said Drake’s success pushed him and Jay-Z to make “Watch the Throne.”
It’s understandable. There’s something wildly infectious about Drake. He evokes emotion. People dance, they sing, they rap, they scream. He connects with his fans. He proved as much during “305 to My City,” when an extension stage, yet another circle, descended from the ceiling. He spent some 10 minutes getting as close as he could to the audience, giving shout outs to everyone from “the guy in the Chiefs hat” to the “girl in the mint green pants.”
He ended his show with a firestorm of hits, including “Problems,” “The Motto,” “All Me” and the finale, “Started From the Bottom.” And now he’s here, at the top of his music game. And that throne Jay-Z and Kanye West claim to occupy, it’s time they add another seat. Drake is worth watching, too.Drake’s set list
Tuscan Leather (Part 1), Headlines, Crew Love, Tuscan Leather (Part 3), Furthest Thing, Wu-Tang Forever, Own It, Connect, Pop That, No New Friends, No Lie, I’m on One, Versace, * Love Me featuring Future, Same Time featuring Future, Pound Cake, The Motions, Come Thru featuring Jhene Aiko, From Time featuring Jhene Aiko, Hold on We’re Going Home, Worst Behavior, The Language, 305 to My City, Problems, The Motto, HYFR, All Me, Started From the Bottom