Drake brought an elaborate stage production to State Farm Arena, where he's playing the final three dates of his tour through Sunday. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

Concert review and photos: 3 takeaways from the first of Drake’s 3 Atlanta shows

On Sunday, Drake will wrap his “Aubrey and The Three Migos Live!” tour with a third and final show at State Farm Arena. The live outing, which started in August to promote his double “Scorpion” album, has featured Atlanta rap trio Migos (and Roy Woods) throughout as well as a slew of unannounced guests. That didn’t change at Friday night’s sold-out show - Saturday is also tapped out, but some tickets remain for Sunday - where ecstatic fans screamed declarations of devotion (“Marry me, Aubrey!” one girl yelled – repeatedly – as if Drake, 32, might hear her and respond to his real name) and flicked their wrists in the air while singing and rapping along with the Canadian star. So in honor of Drake’s trio of concerts in a city he clearly loves, here are three takeaways from the first night of the run. 

Drake kept his female fans in a frenzy throughout the show. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

1. That slew of unannounced guests will probably grow even bigger by Sunday. Fans who might have been puzzled why Migos didn’t perform two of their most recent hits – “Walk It Talk It” and “Narcos” – during their opening set understood why about halfway through Drake’s performance when they returned in a variation of the colorful jumpsuits they wore earlier in the night (red for Offset, green for Takeoff and yellow for Quavo) to share the songs with Drake. They were also joined by Atlanta’s Lil Baby (“Drip Too Hard”) and 21 Savage (“(BBO [Bad Bitches Only])”. Late in Drake’s set – which started at 10:15 p.m. – French Montana arrived for “No Stylist.” A few times, Drake name-dropped other performers – Lil Wayne, Usher – as he recalled his history in Atlanta and was seemingly teasing the audience of their arrival. But, no. 

Migos opened the show with a set of hits and then joined Drake for more of their songs. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

2. As with his past tour, Drake enjoys a visual spectacle. His stage, a massive rectangle in the middle of the arena with a set of video screens mirroring the stage above – was shrouded in an opaque screen for the first couple of songs of each portion of the show (presented as Side A and Side B), with Drake a barely visible figure in white, prowling the empty space. Dim, red lighting accented “Started From the Bottom” as flash pots popped and video images blanketed the stage floor. A medley that included “Emotionless” and “Elevate” was complemented by crisscrossing green lasers, and lighted squares on the stage burst into view as Drake stepped on them - “Billie Jean” style – during “Don’t Matter to Me” (he also embraced his inner Michael Jackson with a seductive snippet of “Rock With You,” as he’s done throughout the tour). 

Drake chatted frequently with the adoring crowd at State Farm Arena. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com

3. Drake is a talker. Considering he’s the only person in view – no band, no DJ, no singers, although a group of dancers joined him during Side B – the obligation to connect rested solely on his white-vested shoulders. “It’s too early - the show just got started,” he joked when a bra was tossed his way a few songs into the night. But Drake mostly concentrated on being uplifting (“Make some noise for the people who love you in this lifetime. I promise you, that’s all you’ve got”), encouraging (“I want you to make some ************* noise for my three brothers [in Migos] who carry Atlanta with them everywhere they go in the world”) and grateful (“I’m so happy to be in the A – you have no ************* idea”). Two more arenas full of fans will get to add to Drake’s feelings of gratitude.

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on ajc.com, and she remembers...

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