The Club Paradise Tour stopped in Champaign Sunday night, and with A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar opening for Drake, the bill made this one of the most highly anticipated shows of the year at Assembly Hall. Check out after the jump for a Kendrick Lamar/Drake review, pictures, and a short video.
Unfortunately I arrived right at the end of A$AP’s set, but just in time for Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick hit the stage with a lot of energy and really kept the fans involved from start to finish. Although not everyone had yet arrived and some of the people on the floor refused to stand after pleas from Kendrick, he managed to definitely gain some fans, especially after one of the crowd favorites “Pussy and Patron.” He then played “ADHD” and “Michael Jordan,” with fans chanting to both songs. The stage was really dimly lit and you could barely see the guy (no light movement for any songs), but you could tell the future is bright for the 24 year old rapper from Compton. Kendrick Lamar finished his set with his ROTC outro after only 7 songs. I’m sure the Paradise Tour managers will consider giving the guy a little more time after seeing the positive response he gets from fans night in, night out.
Drake on the other hand, was sort of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, the dude has a lot of energy on stage and you can tell he’s really passionate about what he does…but the song choice and time spent talking about nothing (at least 15 minutes pointing out people in the crowd and how much he likes their outfits) hurt the overall performance. As he walked on stage to a packed (sold out) Assembly Hall, he spray-painted “OVOXO” on his equipment and sent the crowd into hysteria. “Up All Night” was his first song and I’m pretty sure I saw at least two girls heads explode from screaming (completely serious… I don’t know how this didn’t make it on the news).
The thing that was troubling was that the only song he performed start to finish was his last one, which was “Headlines.” It was a lot of guest verses from hit songs by Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Timbaland, and others, and only choruses and a verse or two from his own songs. He also acknowledged that he knew his new album (Take Care) leaked, but wasn’t necessarily mad about it (one of the only rappers that is realistic I guess), but only played 4 songs from it.
The highlight of the show was “Marvin’s Room.” You could really tell Drake has been working on his voice, and him playing the keyboard during the song showcased his talent. He even went on a 10 minute rant where he said “Fuck the people going on twitter and talking about how thick my eye brows are, or saying I always wear the same hoodie.” Check out photos from the show below.
Video of “I’m Goin’ In” (Can’t record from the press pit, had to do it from my regular seat)