Drake @ Sheffield Arena
Few people proclaim that Sheffield is the only place they want to be on a Friday night, but when it’s Drake uttering those words you can’t help but laugh. The Canadian rapper’s entrance at Sheffield Arena comes close to overstepping the line of cringeworthy but instantly takes on legendary status as he rises through the floor to the sounds of a gospel choir. Lights lowered, Kanye Glasto-style, and an onslaught of pyrotechnics fire out to the first hit of the night ‘Started From the Bottom’. Squeezing over thirty songs into an hour and a half is a tough ask but Drake cleverly – and frustratingly at times – chops up his back-catalogue tracks, splicing them all together.
He takes a breather while Sampha’s smooth tones on ‘Too Much’ ring out, but soon enough Drake’s back onstage with hundreds of purple lights snapping into formation for colossal hit ‘Hotline Bling’. “I don’t know if this song made it over here or not,” he jokes before lurching into ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ – famously covered by Sheffield’s own Arctic Monkeys a few years ago. Drake gets intimate, going into the crowd and taking a shot of “liquor” from a fan before having a lacey bra flung at him. “Since I got this in my hand I think we should play a record that makes some sense of this,” he chuckles before playing his trio of seductive tracks featuring Rihanna, though sadly she’s spending her Friday night elsewhere.
‘Controlla’ and ‘One Dance’ summon the chart-loving fans for the last time before he descends into an encore for the die-hards. It’s a trap-heavy mosh pit fest with Drake bounding around a massive 3D sun to ‘Know Yourself’ and ‘Energy’, staking his claim as not only a huge crowd-pleaser, but one of the world’s most respected artists with an ammunition of serious hard-hitters to his name.