HIGHLAND – Drake, real name Aubrey Drake Graham, showed the sold-out audience at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino why his album “So Far Gone” went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2009 Thursday night.
The Toronto, Canada native started his set around 8:30 p.m. with his opening verse from “Forever,” which features hip-hop artists Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem.
The crowd immediately joined 24-year-old Drake in rapping “Last name ever/first name greatest/like a sprained ankle, boy I ain’t nothing to play with …” while a combination of lights and smoke engulfed the stage.
While Drake’s set featured no guests the estimated crowd of 3,700 people didn’t seem to mind at all.
He enthusiastically performed verses from Rihanna’s hit single “What’s My Name?” Cash Money co-owner and label mate Birdman’s “Money to Blow,” Lil Wayne’s “Right Above It” and Young Money’s “BedRock.”
For his own material, he went through “Fancy,” without hip-hop artists T.I. and Swizz Beatz, as well as “Best I Ever Had,” “Over” and a strong cover of Lil Wayne’s “I’m Single.”
The audience, who had to be age 21 and over to get in, was split between younger men and women who noticeably screamed every time he gave a shout-out to “Highland.”
Behind Drake were a strong group of musicians including two guitarists, a drummer, DJ and keyboardist from what I could see but the house lighting focused on Drake the entire night.
In an interview with Billboard backstage after the show, he mentioned:
His mother was in the audience after recovering from spinal surgery (which he also announced during the show); a girl threw a box that hit him in the eye and inside was a ring with the inscription “Forever Drake;” and he always wears Air Jordans and owns about 200 pairs.
Note: Thanks to San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino for the image