In case you missed it, checkout August Discovery.
Photography by Erik Kabik
9:14 PM Sunday, September 6
Somehow I find myself rushing through the Bellagio to get into the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The city is packed with tourist for the holiday weekend. As I’m pacing nearly jogging, I realize I’m cutting people off, photo-bombing, and doing basically just about anything to make it on time. Aubrey Graham, better known as Drake is set to go onstage at 9:40 PM.
I make it to the box office and the lady behind the counter says my full name before I could get a word out. I covered almost every show last summer for the Summer Music Series so the staff got to know me quite well. I don’t even think she searched for my name in the system. She handed me a ticket right away and said I was good.
The only problem with this is that I didn’t have any backstage credentials. And for this show, I needed to be back there. I get a text saying that my credentials are coming, just stand by for a few. Its 9:41 PM. Drake hasn’t taken the stage yet, but I know now I’m cutting it a little too close for comfort. While waiting next to the pool tables I see groups of girls trying to talk their way backstage but security is tight.
The energy of the venue is unreal. The crowd is already loud. The stage hands get some last minute details fixed before Drake’s entrance. They have the look of panic on their faces.
“Here you go”.
My credentials arrive along with some of my friends. We are granted backstage access and move pass security into an elevator that takes you up to the stage. In the elevator I hear the crowd erupt. The house music has been cut. The show is about to start.
There’s still a few more hurdles to go through to get all the way backstage so I’m not paying attention to what song Drake starts his set with. Later I find that it’s “Legend” from his mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”. I spot two more friends that are on an elevated ramp that overlooks the stage and crowd. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed up there, but the girls said to come up. It was like having our own special little section marked off just for us. Everyone we knew ended up coming up to the ramp. My friend asks me to take a picture and I can barely hold the camera still there’s so much dancing happening on the ramp.
Drake was playing hits only. “Trophies”, “My Way”, “Blessings”, “All Me”; the list goes on. This show wasn’t supporting “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”, this show was all about going from 0 to 100 within the hour he played for. The crowd was singing over Drake at some points. It was chaos. In the middle of his set, I think because this is his highest trending song right now, plus he probably needed a breather, he played a slower “Hotline Bling”. Every girl in oversized vintage shirts with cut up jeans or dresses that showed just the right amount of wrong was charged up for this one.
The set seemed to fly by. Maybe because I was having too much fun and couldn’t believe I got to see Drake play to a smaller venue. He ends his set with “Back to Back”; a diss track against his ongoing beef with rapper Meek Mill. Afterwards he introduces himself to the crowd “My name is Drake, I’m from Toronto, Canada” as if he was still an unknown in support of his first album and then exits.
Exiting the venue I run into Ashley of Almost Normal with journalist Camille Cannon. You can read her review here. Later another journalist Doug Fisher, invites us to an after-party in one of the hotel suites in the east tower. We finally make it but I’m worn out. I decide to ditch the party early. As I’m leaving I run into Drake’s dad. He’s with a group of people that look like Drake’s childhood friends. It’s just another night for the books I tell myself. But looking back on it, this was something special.
Until next time!
Music & Lifestyle
Taj Simpson is OLE MASON JAR's Director of Music and Lifestyle and lives in Las Vegas, NV. Always dressed for the right occasion, Taj also has a keen ear for the right sound...keeping us at the forefront of the music scene, and in tune with the freshest tracks and artists you may / or may not have heard of.