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Drake played one of the best arena shows we've ever seen

Drake on stage in Sydney
Photograph: Mushroom Creative

Drake is playing three shows in Melbourne this month. Time Out went along to his debut performance in Sydney this week, and if you were on the fence about buying a ticket, here are six reasons why you should buy one right now.

1. He gets the arena going up on a Tuesday

It was early in the week – and the Champagne Papi was half an hour late on stage – but that didn’t dampen the mood. Support DJs got the crowds warmed up with floor filling, party starting tracks from Travis Scott, Cardi B and Kanye, but there was a lull in between. Finally arriving stage he announced, “I’m from Canada. And unlike other artists, I'm not here for money. I'm here to give you the biggest party tonight," And boy did he (unlike someone else we saw earlier this year).

2. The mood, light and stage magic was perfect

The first portion of Drizzy’s performance was about maximum energy (loads of jumping, sweat and Sydney shout outs) in minimal lighting. Smoke machines and strobes created a cage like prism, which was simple and effective. It drew your attention straight to the man of the night and managed to make a 20,000 seat arena feel intimate. The next part used a cool 2,000 LED globes strung from the roof. They oscillated between slowly moving pink orbs to fast-paced booming rainbow strobes, which were equal parts beautiful and atmospheric.

Drake on stage at Sydney show Nov 7, 2017


The Champagne Papi brought the party and a giant glowing orb
Photograph: Mushroom Creative



3. Even if you get nosebleed tickets, you will still feeling the love

No inch of the arena was left was left out  – right, left, front, back and all the way to the top. If you were there, you were there for a show. Our single gripe here was for the two, mostly unacknowledged dancers. Each danced their arses off for half of the show – only to finally be introduced (Alliayah and Taya) before being pit each other in a dance off. There was something just a little tasteless about pitting two women against each in a crowd-heckled dance battle. They were both talented and deserved more recognition.

4. The setlist was a hit-packed, career-spanning, two-hour showcase

Two years on, ‘Hotline Bling’ is still as good as it was the day it was released (executed with slightly daggy-but-awesome dance moves and wearing a red puffer coat). ‘Passionfruit’ demonstrates production and sampling perfection, while ‘Headlines’ showed us where he started and why he’s still here.

5. The hype is real

“My manager booked this tour three months ago, and I've been sitting on my couch since, waiting to come to Sydney.” Sometimes some of the world’s biggest artists announce their tour a year out (which is usually a year after they release their touring album), others (like Drake) do it with a casual three months’ notice. It was long enough to get everyone excited, but short and sure enough that his latest album tracks were as crisp and fresh as the first time we listened to More Life on repeat.

6. He blurs the line between a pop show and a hip-hop show without alienating either party

From encouraging circle pits, referencing his OVO crew and playing circa-2009 tracks versus Rihanna and DJ Kahled-sampled vocals and pop-powerhouse staging, Drake found a dichotomy between each genre and packaged it up in a five-star show.

If you’ve been weighing up the pain of getting to Homebush, and the cost of tickets, we say book it now – Drake will make sure that you don’t regret it.

Want to catch more live music? Here's where to see it every night of the week.