Drake gives shout out to fans at NIU concert

By Bianca Rodriguez

The lights were slowly dimmed as music played softly. Fans quickly scurried to their seats while others jumped to their feet to welcome the rap artist who took the stage sporting a red letterman’s jacket displaying a white “D” for Drake. The doors to Northern Illinois University’s convention center opened Sunday night at 7:30 for fans attending Drake’s concert “Thank Me Later.”
The concert was lit with purple and dark blue lights creating a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere
for a venue with not a bad seat in the house. The balcony seats sat just above the stage bringing those up high just as close to the action as the fans on the floor. Even from the balcony, the five o’clock shadow Drake rocked was easy to see.
While fans “dressed to impress” with fancy skirts, flashy blouses, and crisp kicks, Drake performed in a black v-neck shirt and blue jeans. Unlike other performers who wear outrageous costumes, Drake kept it casual with a hint of swagger. Drake comes off as an average guy, which is reinforced by the messages of his new songs. They give the impression
that he is just a regular guy wondering exactly what he has gotten into.
Before focusing on music, Drake starred in Degrassi:
The Next Generation. His connection to the audience is natural and he appears more than comfortable on stage.
At the concert Drake performed several tracks from his mixtape So Far Gone and his newly-released studio album Thank Me Later. Though his immensely popular So Far Gone was never released as an album, after being selected to perform at the 2010 Grammy Awards ceremony, it is apparent his talent has been recognized. Drake tickets for the show in the Chicago Theater sold out within two weeks of going on sale. Due to high interest an additional show was added to his visit in Chicago and Drake performed on back to back nights, Oct. 13 and 14. Drake kept fans on their feet jamming to his clear and clever flows, waving their arms, and singing along to every chorus.
In appreciation of his fans, Drake spent approximately 10 minutes recognizing them by pointing out individuals in the crowd. He complimented different outfits and facial expressions of those in the crowd. Starting on the far left, he slowly moved to the right recognizing each section making sure to include those in the balcony. Drake even brought one audience member on stage. He then proceeded to kiss and caress her to Alicia Keys’s Unforgettable. Before returning her to her seat, he handed her a Blackberry, which was a gift from a sponsor of his tour. He then celebrated this short and shallow relationship as further example
of what he criticizes in his music.
Throughout the concert Drake played music honoring other artists such as Aaliyah and his close friend Lil Wayne who is currently serving a year in prison. Drake asked the crowd, “NIU, who here still supports my man Weezy?” The audience responded by clapping, cheering, and shouting, “Free Weezy!” After video taping the audience on his cell phone to later show Wayne, Drake performed Wayne’s song I’m Going In.
With adrenaline pumping, Drake continued playing recorded versions of his own songs so he could rap over them, creating what sounded like duets with himself. Drake’s originality and connection to his audience made