Live: Drake and a Billion Special Guests at Radio City Music Hall

September 30, 2010

Here is a list of people, both famous and significantly less famous, that made an appearance at the second and last night of Drake's two-night run at Radio City Music Hall:

-Mack Maine
-Francis from Francis and the Lights
-Trey Songz
-Swizz Beatz
-Birdman's crazy oil well tattoo on the top of his head shining bright against the lights
-Some woman who we swore we recognized either from TV or Real Life wearing one of those outfits that's like shorts and high heels and a little sport jacket in the very front with her friend. Probably this was no one, but you never know, so.

After the jump read our recap from the evening, along with some iPhone photos that were taken without flash because people were filming the entire thing and understandably didn't want flashing bright lights everywhere fucking up their game.

Weirdly this was the second time we'd seen Drake in less than a month. The first time being in Seattle, where his set was similar except there were no special guests and no fireworks. He did the cheesy thing where he brought a girl on stage and danced with her, and maybe we just missed this the first time around, but toward the end of it Drake told her he wanted to give her a parting gift. The gift ended up being a the newest Blackberry and also a blatant AT&T shout out, which was totally weird and reminded us that yeah, we might be at an extravagant show with fireworks and a drum set on risers at Radio City Music Hall, but it is 2010 and dudes are trying to get money in many ways. It was corny, but then we started thinking, Imagine what will happen if that girl uses that Blackberry, and everyone is like, Hey what's up with the new Blackberry and then she can explain that she got it from Drake on stage in front of so many people. Not only did Drake just give you a phone, he also gave you a way to brag about being on stage with him without sounding like a crazy person. This seems like a nice Canadian thing to do (sorry Canadians if you are offended that we are stereotyping you as overwhelmingly nice people).

The most striking thing about Drake's live show, though, is that he consciously made a decision to be a PERFORMER from the start. He never went through the phase of half-mumbling verses over full versions of his own tracks with every person he's ever known on stage with him. Instead, he's out there alone (except when he brings special guests out), sliding and jumping around like he's on ice skates while his band jams in the background.

The guests were mostly welcome departures from the ALL DRAKE ALL THE TIME show, but Francis of Francis and the Lights was uncomfortably awkward. Probably the product of being thrust on a massive stage very, very early in his career. Then again, Swizz Beatz was also kind of awkward, but it seemed like maybe he couldn't quite hear what was going on. He managed to pull off his guest spot just by being regular old Swizz. Dancing slowly off the stage as "Fancy" faded out. So endearing.

Jeezy apparently showed up the first night, and when it became clear early on that he wouldn't be back again, we held out hopes for Jay-Z—who did show up. Jay-Z had more fun in his five or so minutes on stage than pretty much anyone else over the entire night, doing only half his verse from "Light Up" and then "On to the Next One." (Also, can we have a conversation about how mad Jay is every time he does a guest verse on a song? He is basically yelling at everyone for hating on him nonstop at this point. It should not work. He is essentially slapping us all in the face with wads of hundreds because some of us didn't like his last couple albums as much as his first couple albums.) Jay-Z live is awesome, but you don't need us to tell you that.

Here's an obvious observation: girls love Trey Songz more than anything ever. At one point he took his sunglasses off and grinned and the entire place basically fell down with high-pitched screams. Mostly though, it was entirely Drake's show. He puts on an act and sells it for the length of a movie (He's Just Not That Into You-length, not Lord of the Rings-length). Playing the exhausted touring artist (which he is), the lovelorn single dude with a good heart (probably also true), the guy that is just looking for something honest in a fairly dishonest and weird scene (sure), and the guy that hopes to find love somewhere at Radio City THAT VERY NIGHT (no unless it's some weird groupie thing). But he sells it so hard—he knows we know it's fake and he doesn't care. This is Drake giving everyone their money's worth—he's popular but he's still winning everyone over, he's got a long way to go, but he's much farther along than anyone could have predicted.

Live: Drake and a Billion Special Guests at Radio City Music Hall