The world’s most popular musical artist opened his Aubrey & the Three Migos tour in Kansas City on Sunday — after two postponements — and the debut performance dazzled an adoring capacity audience of about 17,000 at the Sprint Center.
Drake’s magnificent production was capable of making even the most inconvenienced fans forget about their grievances.
While not as stunning as Kanye West’s elaborate 2013 presentation at the Sprint Center, Drake’s lavish set design is one of the most impressive productions in hip-hop history. The show is befitting an artist of Drake’s stature.
“Scorpion,” the fifth studio album by the Canadian-born Aubrey Drake Graham, 31, has topped the Billboard 200 albums chart for the last five weeks.
His emotive vocals, elite rapping and silken beats allowed him to become the first artist to exceed 50 billion plays on streaming services.
Drake interpreted more than three dozen of his familiar songs on a rectangular stage in the center of the arena during his 85-minute appearance.
While the sound was faultless, an inflatable yellow Ferrari toured the arena, and a scrim facilitated ravishing special effects, the centerpiece of the production was the stage’s illuminated floor.
Women appeared to swim in a pool underneath Drake’s feet as he interpreted the bouncy 2015 smash “Hotline Bling.”
He and six dancers frolicked on a simulated basketball court during the Louisiana-style anthem “Nice For What.”
A gargantuan phone screen provided the backdrop of “In My Feelings,” a defining song of the summer.
Drake paid homage to Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking “Billie Jean” video by stepping on illuminated blocks on “Don’t Matter to Me,” a song that features a previously unreleased recording by the King of Pop. Drake also sang a tender version of Jackson’s “Rock with You.”
While Drake is partly defined by his acute sensitivity, Migos is associated with rough-and-tumble impertinence.
The Atlanta trio that Drake called “the biggest group in the entire … world” joined him to add staccato flows to “Walk It Talk It” and “Versace.”
The doors of the Sprint Center remained locked on Sunday until 20 minutes after they were to have been opened and Migos didn’t begin its 50-minute opening set until about 40 minutes after the scheduled show time.
The wait for Drake was an additional 40 minutes.
All this came after a July 31 booking in Kansas City was among the tour dates Drake canceled last month. The Sprint Center show was rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 10, the new opening date of the tour. On Friday morning, the performance was abruptly pushed back to Sunday due to “production issues.”
Yet the extreme exercise in delayed gratification ultimately acted as an immaterial prelude to a wondrously timeless performance.
Drake set list (with two or three possible omissions): 8 Out of 10; Mob Ties; Started From the Bottom; Jumpman; Both; Know Yourself; Emotionless; Elevate; Can’t Take a Joke; Energy; Yes Indeed; Free Smoke; Trophies; Gyalchester; Over; Headlines; All Me; I Feel Blessed; The Motto; My Way; Walk It Talk It (with Migos); Versace (with Migos); four additional Migos songs without Drake; Blue Tint; That’s How You Feel; Don’t Matter to Me; Rock with You; Jaded; Controlla; Work; One Dance; Hotline Bling; Fake Love; basketball interlude; Nice For What; In My Feelings; Look Alive; Nonstop; I’m Upset; video interlude; God’s Plan.