There wasn’t much to do last night. Clubs on South Beach were relatively quiet, and Wynwood’s streets were mostly deserted. But if you held onto your Drake tickets from a previous date that was rescheduled, you had the opportunity to do more than watch Netflix and chill. After showering cash on Miami-Dade in a music video and being outed as an alleged deadbeat dad, your favorite Canadian rapper had time to put on a show. Since he hadn't played Miami since summer 2016, it promised to be one hell of a night.
Drake’s biggest fans wrapped around the American Airlines Arena twice to mostly claim they were on a list they weren't. “No, trust me, I’m on the list. Check again,” a fan yelled to the employees inside the ticket booths. Tickets online were resold for more than $300, which required some people to decide whether to pay their car note.
Inside, the rectangular stage sat in the middle of the arena, allowing fans to get a 360-degree view, while a pathway led backstage. The stage included four TV monitors positioned in a square and a DJ booth in the middle. There were also smaller screens along the sides, which provided a premium view even from the 400 level. Early on, the arena went pitch black, and fans began to scream for Drake, but to their disappointment,, it was just Migos. Well, two of them.
Quavo and Takeoff took the stage wearing full red and green jumpsuits, respectively, looking as if they were on the way to a circus. As an opening act, they were responsible for energizing the crowd, but most of the audience wanted to see only Drake. “Isn’t there one missing?” a concertgoer asked her friend while the two Migos bounced around onstage to the group's hit “Fight Night.”
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“Miami, what’s up?” Quavo yelled into the mike. He sported dark sunglasses throughout the set, perhaps because he was blinded by the lights onstage or by the multiple diamond chains around his neck. “Can I get a drip? A splash?” he yelled right before the two performed the single “Slippery.” And the crowd began to show some interest.
Quavo even took over Offset’s single “Rick Flair Drip” as if it were meant for him to perform. For “Workin’ Me,” Offset finally appeared from backstage in a yellow jumpsuit, giving the people what they wanted: all three Migos, who completely resembled a traffic light. The crowd began to grow bored and Takeoff grew tired, sitting or standing still for the remainder of the performance, including the last track, “Bad and Boujee.” Finally, they thanked the crowd and left fans with a set change that took more than 40 minutes of breaking down and unscrewing everything onstage to give Drake room to be great.
To accompany Drake’s greatness, a white curtain fell over the stage while the screens flashed “A Side,” a reference to the two-sided album he released earlier this summer, Scorpion. At last, Drake appeared in all white and rose from a lift under the stage like the god he is. His first single was “8 out of 10,” a respectful rebuttal to his beef with Pusha T. The crowd ate it up.
“Miami, this city is special to me," he yelled into the mike. "You know I have to do it big anytime I come to the 305." Drake split the crowd in two for a yelling match between his fans — playing the single “Jumpman” for the right side and “Both” for the left side. But he ended up telling everyone to give it up for themselves for coming to the show. While Drake performed, the stage turned into a giant screen that changed molten lava to a refreshing ocean, making special effects a highlight.
The show carried on with everything a Drake fan could have asked for. He performed singles from his latest project, including "Elevate" and "Can’t Take a Joke," as well as selects such as "If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late," released in 2015. He even ran through Lil Baby’s single "Yes Indeed" as a giant yellow Ferrari took half a lap around the stage while he yelled the lyrics, “Yellow Ferrari like Pikachu.” It was probably the closest that many fans would ever be to a luxury car, and Drake made it happen.
From there, Drake showed love to his day-one fans by performing a montage of older tracks, including "Yolo" and "Crew Love," featuring the Weeknd. This allowed the audience to live in the past for a moment before he heated things up with a string of special guests. His first of many was DJ Khaled, who somehow yelled even louder than the mike already made him: “We the Best!” The two performed a pair of tracks, including their number one single “On One,” before Khaled gave a shout-out to his son Asahd and disappeared backstage.
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“Can I keep going? Are you tired?” Drake asked fans. They roared back as if midnight wasn’t approaching. Everyone had time on their hands for more. They got Migos and their track “Walk It Talk It.” Drake left the stage to the three Atlanta rappers, but the crowd wasn’t feeling it until Gucci Mane appeared on the single “I Get the Bag.”
As everyone left the stage, Drake’s white curtain reappeared for the second half of the show: B side. He kicked the set off with “Don’t Matter to Me,” his Michael Jackson-featured single. He continued with "Jaded" and crowd favorites "Controlla," "Work," and "One Dance" before hosting a basketball game in the middle of the stage. Lasers came down to map off a full basketball court where a fan was prompted to shoot for cash. A guy named Gabriel made his first shot for $250, missed his second, and then came back for the win on one from half court, scoring him $25,000 and a hug from Drake. The hug was worth more than the money.
“OK, but can I keep going?" Drake asked fans. "I have more if you don’t mind." The arena clearly had work in the morning but stayed put to see what Drake had to offer. His guest list extended to Bad Bunny performing “Mia” for the first time on tour along with Lil Wayne.
When most artists need to reschedule a show, their fans — including those who have to travel — must rearrange their plans. They expect the artist to make it up in every way possible, and Drake delivered. With throwback hits and special guests, he ensured his first of two Miami shows was a night to remember.