Monday, June 25, 2012

Concert Review: Drake in Camden, NJ

It's no secret that ever since I started this blog about three years ago, I've made it a habit to write about anything and everything Drake. I've seen him in concert two and a quarter times already, but that didn't mean a thing as I was still every bit as excited to see him this time around because he released Take Care since the last time I saw him perform. If you're wondering what the quarter time in concert was, I was in attendance when he tore his ACL on stage in Camden three years ago when he came out during @liltunchi's show.

Fast forward to 2012 where @drake returned to the same building where he tore his knee up, the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden. Also on the ticket were Waka Flocka, 2 Chainz, French Montana and J Cole. Keepin' it 100, I was only excited to see @JColeNC and Drake since the other rappers on the bill are not my cup of coffee. It's tough enough for me to stomach their verses on MP3, let alone in concert where they're yelling incoherently and competing with the instrumental...#JustSayin

I'm only going to focus on the main act as a result, so apologies to Fayettnam's finest who tore it down in his own right. In the past Drake has consistently set the bar high for his entrance and I was resigned to the fact that there was absolutely no way he was going to top his 9 AM in Dallas intro that he came out to two years ago at TLA. I was right, but that doesn't mean his Lord Knows concert intro was half steppin' in the slightest.

The energy off top was impossible to ignore as the caustic crowd ignited at his first sight. From the start he did a solid job of mixing in cameo verses like on I'm On One with Take Care tracks like Crew Love. What turned out to be one of my favorite part of the concert was his She Will verse/The Zone verse (below)...
Drake - She Will/The Zone verse

Combining those two tracks together was a great call and it played really well live.

From there he did exactly what Weezy did three years ago when he brought out his Young Money crew. This time Drake gave all the openers a one song cameo starting with @2chainz's new single No Lie...
Drake & 2 Chainz - No Lie

Maybe it was just me, but the audience went all Alexander GraHAM Bell when they figured out what track it was. Pretty sure the track was the apex of the concert, which was a big surprise for me at least.

From there he continued with @WakaFlockaBSM's Round of Applause, @meekmill's Amen, and shared a Maybach Music cameo verse with @FrencHMonTanA on Stay Schemin'. They all turned out to be hype crowd pleasers, especially for the folks who came early for the openers.

From that point on it was a mix of fast and slow Take Care tracks starting with Marvin's Room and Take Care before rounding into form with his two hype singles HYFR and The Motto...(below)
Drake - HYFR

Drake - The Motto (YOLO)

What was really strange to me was the people leaving before the show was anywhere close to done. Don't get me wrong, I loved being able to move up to better seats, but it didn't make any damn sense. Especially since he ended with his most well known tracks like Make Me Proud.

In hindsight, could he have picked better closing song that the slightly overplayed Headlines? Yea, I think so, especially since a curtain call wasn't part of the set and he decided to leave two of my favorite tracks,Shot For Me and Over My Dead Body, off the set list. He was sooo close to a really good set, but leaving both tracks off and not ending with Shot For Me was slightly upsetting.

A few key takeaways from my most recent Drake experience:
  1. Opening acts make a difference. Not just because they make you feel like you got more for your money, but also because they shape the main act's set list. Yea that's right, I blame you Waka Flocka and French Montana for making Drake more inclined to leave some of my favorite tracks off the playlist...#IgnorantRapBlows
  2. This sort of goes along with #1, but seeing Drake in a smaller venue is a better experience. Not taking anything away from his performance because he has clearly become a seasoned vet on stage, but I really wish there would have been a little more So Far Gone or Take Care ballads mixed in.
  3. I really wish Susquehanna Bank Center wasn't in Camden, New Jersey. So many great acts go through there and it's really not a welcoming or safe place.
Feel free and check out some of the photography from the concert in the slideshow below...


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