REVIEW: Drake, Newcastle Arena

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DRAKE, or Drizzy as he’s known in certain circles, is an almost constant fixture in my car CD player.

He’s also managed to make it on to my iPod so I can listen to his melancholy brand of music on the move.

So I had great expectations for his first solo appearance at Newcastle Arena.

In parts, it was great. Drake is a rapper who’s managed to amass adulation levels that are off the Richter scale.

Pre-gig, my Twitter timeline was full of hype for the event and he’s fast become the musician of choice for footballers, who are probably best-placed to relate to his songs about clubbing, sex, women, money and more sex.

However, his is a mellow sort of hip hop which didn’t always translate well to a large-scale gig.

Clad all in black, this tormented soul launched himself around the stage like some kind of ghetto Hamlet bemoaning life’s obstacles that had been thrown at him in his rap soliloquies.

At times it created something of a lull in the huge cavernous space that is Newcastle Arena.

There were, however, also moments of sheer R’n’B brilliance that proved why Drake has inspired such a loyal following.

Last time he toured in Britain Drake was supporting Jay Z, now he was the conductor at the helm of the gig and the crowd danced along to his every move with awe.

Tracks from his album Take Care were performed with a slick manner you don’t tend to get from British artists and was interspersed with his cool Canadian drawl as he declared “Y’all are my friends, my family.”

Take a Shot was a ghetto-gold performance which had me and the rest of the wannabes attempting to dance like we were in “da club.”

Show opener Underground Kings and its punchy vocals about strippers and mix tapes was also pure excellence.

As well as having some top-notch solo tracks, Drake is also celebrated for his collaborations.

Sadly, Drake’s record label mates weren’t there to sing their parts, but his tracks with Lil’ Wayne and Nicki Minaj were a highlight.

Album title track Take Care featuring Rihanna also raised the tempo as bold lighting flashed in tune to Drake’s infectious lyrics.

At this point, a bra was thrown on stage – a sign of the manic hysteria surrounding this prince of urban pop who’s ruling his masses with style.