BY PARKER KLYN
Drake has been the talk of Des Moines for the past week. Not Drake University, mind you – Drake, the pop star, the biggest rapper alive, was coming to Wells Fargo Arena as a part of his Summer Sixteen tour.
He ended up coming to Drake, like we all asked, but it was in the middle of the night; everyone was asleep. A huge portion of Drake’s student body made their way across town to the Well to see what Drake and co-headliner Future had to offer. So, how was the show?
First, let’s talk about the openers, both of whom are signed to Drake’s label, OVO Sound. Roy Woods was generic at best and incomprehensible at worst. The music was mellow and trap-influenced, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell him apart from his musical contemporaries like Bryson Tiller and August Alsina.
Then we got dvsn, an R&B duo consisting of singer Daniel Daley and producer Nineteen85. It was just Daley on stage, and in all honesty, he stole the show. His impeccable voice and uniquely lush musical style set a high bar for the rest of the night.
Then, at 9:45, after an unnecessarily long wait, Drake himself emerged, clad in a Drake University letterman’s jacket over a Bulldogs basketball jersey. It was an endearing moment after the disappointment of earlier in the day. Of course, his opening song was “Summer Sixteen” and the crowd was immediately hooked.
From there, the show was on its way. Drake rarely did more than dance around and rap; there was no choreography and a very minimalistic stage setup. He wisely interspersed his usual hits with tracks from his most recent release, “Views,” which dropped earlier this year.
I think that most of the songs from “Views” are a slog, and the crowd seemed to agree – the few times they seemed to lose interest were during “Views” songs. The one time where energy was almost completely lost was during a three-song stretch of slow cuts from Views. Only dvsn’s guest vocals on “Faithful” brought the crowd back up.
Over an hour into the show, Drake introduced Atlanta rapper Future to the building, and he rapidly moved through a medley of his hardest club bangers.
The most energized moments of the entire night came from Future’s set, with hits like “Bugatti” and “Thought It Was A Drought.” After Future and Drake came together for the biggest hits on their collaborative release What A Time To Be Alive, it was the end of the former’s night.
Drake closed the show with his angriest tracks, like “Know Yourself” and “Energy”. After the highs of Future’s set, these five encore songs seemed excessive.
The show wasn’t officially over until after midnight, over four hours after Woods’ opening set. I understand that Drake wanted to promote his most recent album, but it was a misfire to include the vast majority of the record’s tracklist.
All in all, the Summer Sixteen tour played out a lot like Views; an excessively long moment of self-seriousness intercut with moments of pure energy. If Drake had exercised some self-restraint and stuck to his hits, the show could have been transcendent; as a result, the show ended up meeting, not exceeding or falling short of, expectations.