Drake, The O2, Thursday, February 2
Messrs Sheeran and Bieber may disagree, but there’s a compelling argument that Aubrey Drake Graham is the hottest male pop star on the planet right now.
The evidence? Take your pick from the streams (4.7 BILLION of them!), the 15-week run at No.1, the all-conquering Views and/or his Summer Sixteen Tour, which surpassed Jay Z and Kanye as the highest grossing hip-hop tour ever. And that’s just from the last 12 months...
Tonight marks the latest step in the Canadian’s bid for global domination – night 3 of 8 at The O2 - the London venue’s joint-biggest residency of 2017 (Drake is in the distinguished company of comedian Micky Flanagan on that score).
It’s not all gone entirely swimmingly, however. “Unforeseen production setbacks” caused a handful of Boy Meets World tour dates to be rescheduled, while a clip of special guest Travis Scott plunging into a hole on stage on night 2 (damaging an inflatable globe central to the second half of the set) has already gone viral. Drake offered fans refunds for the mishap, which surely rivals downing 10 tequila slammers in the “you’ll regret that in the morning” stakes.
But back to tonight and any fears those hiccups had somehow knocked Drizzy out of his groove are allayed by storming opener Trophies, a genuinely thrilling, lightning in a bottle moment. There are fireworks - figuratively and literally - but there’s no repeat performance from Scott (that pesky hole had been covered, incidentally). We do get Giggs though, for a run through Whippin’ Excursion. One Dance, meanwhile, the biggest UK chart-topper in a generation, is dropped to surprisingly little fanfare half a dozen songs from the end.
Even when the tunes drift towards the mundane, the production more than compensates. As a spectacle, it is world-class - a spellbinding feast of lights, effects and colour - the pink orbs that douse Hotline Bling a particular highlight in more ways than one. Whatever the “production setbacks”, they were well worth the trouble.
How does the music industry make money from streaming? Eight nights at The O2 is a decent start.