The UK has become a second home for Drake White in recent years. He’s the perfect example of an artist who has seized the opportunity given to them at C2C and built a very strong, loyal fan base on the back of it. We first saw him at the after party a couple of years ago, when it used to take place in Building Six, and we sensed that something special was happening that night. He was the surprise artist of the weekend for many, and it was the beginning of a strong and fruitful relationship between Drake and the UK country fans.
This year’s C2C was a big moment for Drake. A big chance to open the main stage came his way during a period in his career that hasn’t been the best for him. His band ‘The Big Fire’ departed at the end of last year following their UK tour and were subsequently replaced, and I sense there’s been an element of frustration in terms of releasing new music (which he insists is ready) since his split with Big Machine. The UK has always remained supportive, and this show was the reward for the commitment he’s shown internationally.
For the most part, the set list was made up of songs from his incredibly well received ‘Spark’ album, starting with the funky ‘It Feels Good’ (impossible to sit still to!) and the anthemic ‘Heartbeat’ which sounded incredible in an arena with its thumping back beat. The one disappointment was that Drake didn’t have any rigging to climb at the O2, so the performance felt a little restrained after the crazy antics we witnessed at the Birmingham Institute last time! Not Drake’s fault at all, and he made his disappointment clear beforehand at the pre-show press conference!
The fan favourites continued with ‘Back To Free’ and ‘Story’ as the atmosphere gradually increased. It’s never the easiest job having to open the main stage whilst people make their way into the arena, but thankfully most people made the effort to arrive early for Drake, and the volume level was right up there. We also had a new song titled ‘The Coast Is Clear’, which you can find on his recent live EP. A great track about living life to the full and how it “ain’t worth living if you do it all the same”; it went down very well with the O2 crowd.
Drake brought out the singles towards the end of the show, with the simply epic ‘Makin’ Me Look Good Again’ and ‘Livin’ The Dream’. Throughout the set, the band were on point and you wouldn’t have noticed a difference in the slightest, and of course Drake’s raspy vocal was incredibly well delivered with great passion and emotion. He went with a rendition of ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ to close the show which cranked up the party atmosphere and left the stage to a standing ovation.
A thoroughly successful night at The O2 once again for Drake which will hopefully boost his ever-growing overseas following even further. One of the best entertainers and most passionate performers in the business, he left his heart and soul on that stage as he does every single show.
1. It Feels Good
3. Back To Free
5. The Coast is Clear
6. Makin’ Me Look Good Again
7. Livin’ the Dream
8. Fat Bottomed Girls