Glenn Gamboa writes about music for Newsday.
Drake's "Would You Like a Tour?" may have had a rocky, controversial start, but by the time the tour reached Barclays Center Monday night, it was running as smooth as one of the Canadian rapper's love songs.
Though opener Future had reportedly been kicked off the tour after offering a less-than-glowing review of Drake's album "Nothing Was the Same," only to be quickly reinstated, there seemed to be no ill will Monday night.
In fact, the vibe of the entire evening was one of support, as Future and the other openers, Party Next Door and especially Grammy-winning Miguel created a party atmosphere for Drake. Not that he needed the help, though.
Drake's live show has grown by leaps and bounds from his early days. He commands his massive Jupiter-rings stage, getting the capacity crowd to rap/sing along whenever he wanted.
The improvement of his performance hasn't changed his earnestness, evidenced in opening with the moodier bits of "Nothing Was the Same" and connecting with the crowd.
"I'd like to let you know that tonight is one of the greatest honors of my life," he said.
Then he kicked into party mode, celebrating his recent birthday with the club bangers that have kept him at the top of the rap charts for years: The jumping of the crowd during "No Lie" made the Barclays feel as though it was literally jumping.
"New York City is always ready," he said. "We don't have to ask any questions."