Drake might have been looking for revenge all “Summer Sixteen,” but on Wednesday night, he showed Los Angeles that he’s also been looking to put on a show.
Calling it a homecoming, the Calabasas resident ran through hit-after-hit on the first of three nights at Staples Center.
From the apropos opener “Summer Sixteen,” it was an extravaganza, complete with stunning light displays, blazing fire, shooting smoke, and a moving stage that lifted Drizzy during different tracks.
Backed by awe-inspiring visuals on a giant screen, Drake bounced across the stage like a limber maestro, always looking for more from the crowd.
“I put together a special show for you tonight,” he told the sold-out crowd. “I’m here to give you the best show, the best party, the best memories I possibly can. Because you know what? This is my second hometown and you motherfu**ing deserve it.”
As the show progressed, so did the visual surprises. During “Hotline Bling,” illuminated spheres fell from the ceiling, suspended in sync with the cha-cha of the beat. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the 6 God joined the glowing globes by flying above the Staples crowd on a moving contraption during “Hold On, We’re Going Home.”
What would a “Summer Sixteen” show be without surprises?
After bringing Eminem, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Rihanna out for previous dates, Drake delivered some stars for L.A. too. Long Beach’s own Snoop Dogg came out to perform “The Next Episode” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” with Drake eventually bowing before him as a legend in the game.
YG also came to the party. The Compton MC joined Drake for “Why You Always Hatin'” before doing “Twist My Fingaz” on his own. He then enjoyed the show next to DJ Mustard from a closed-off section.
Other stars were in the stands, too. LeBron James and Kevin Hart were among the evening’s attendees, enjoying the show from a VIP area at the heart of Staples.
Another surprise star sighting came during Future’s mid-show set, when he brought Ty Dolla $ign out for “Blasé.”
Speaking of Future, his appearance came in between two lengthy Drake sets. Billed as a co-headliner, Hendrix showed his hit-making ability with a barrage of tracks including “New Level,” “Bugatti,” “Same Damn Time,” and “Move That Dope,” though he mostly only performed the tracks’ infectious choruses. He really got things going when he performed DS2’s standout “Thought It Was a Drought” with fire blazing behind him much like it did with the 6 God.
Drake joined Future on stage for a few What a Time to Be Alive collaborations, “Big Rings” and “Jumpman,” but then it was back to the Drizzy show, as he rounded out the evening with bangers like “Back to Back,” “Know Yourself,” and “Energy.”
Once the music was over, Drake marveled at the diverse crowd and left the city with a message of unity. “All we did tonight was drink, smoke, and enjoy music, and show love,” he said. “You could take this concept and apply that shit to your life when you walk out these doors. Only way we’re gonna keep this world spinning is if we protect each other and love each other.”
Plus, he left with gratitude for the city he now calls home. “If you’re coming back on any of the other nights, I’ll see you,” he said. “If not, I’m sure I’ll see you around the city. L.A., I love you. Thank you for embracing me as one of your own. Get home safe.”
Drake and Future are back at Staples on Friday (Sept. 9) and Saturday (Sept. 10). Then, they continue the run through North America and return to L.A. later this month for a three-day stay at The Forum in Inglewood, Sept 27-29.