Ever since OVO Fest began, it has built itself a reputation for some legendary shows. The festival turned tradition in Drake‘s hometown of Toronto has become an annual lifestyle ritual for his loyal fans, who over the years have been attending faithfully. In the span of six years the two-night event has featured acts like OutKast and J. Cole all the way to Kanye West, G-Unit, Travis Scott and Eminem, with Drake usually taking over the Molson Amphitheatre stage on the second night to finish the event off with a bang.
This year however, OVO decided not to take the traditional route. It was confusing to know which day the festival actually started. The Soca/Dancehall music-infused first night became a blur. It didn’t help fans when Drake confused them further by Instagraming a photo of Air Canada Centre with a caption reading, “Me and the arena had our private moment today…we agreed on how this is going to play out. SUMMER SIXTEEN TOUR TORONTO AKA OVO FEST NIGHT ONE TMRW”. Nobody knew what to expect this year from the now four-day festival.
Saturday came and fans started to line up outside of ACC, clutching their tickets nervously not knowing where the night was going to end up. Everyone took their seats in the arena waiting for the curtains to fall and finally the show began with Baka taking the stage first, who performed a few of his standout tracks.
Photo Credit: Dragan Andic
Immediately after, it was OVO’s young star Roy Wood$ turn to take the stage with confidence. This was his first appearance on the Summer Sixteen Tour. Roy started his set off with “Get You Good”, “Jealousy” and “Drama”, three of his standout tracks from his first project EXIS. Then leading into “Down Girl”, “How I Feel”, “Gwan Big Up Urself” and “Why” from his latest album, Waking At Dawn. As for his performance, Roy is definitely one of OVO’s young and exciting artists to keep a look out for. His confidence on stage grew with each song as he entertained the crowd with his dance moves. Wood$ exceeded expectations as a live performer in front of a large scale audience. Being on the Summer Sixteen tour with Drake as his mentor, there’s no doubt he will be further mastering his stage presence and performance style.
Photo Credit: Zhamak Fullad
DVSN was next up. As the three backup singers in gospel choir robes took to the stage the opening notes of DVSN’s “Too Deep” started playing followed by their vocalist Daniel Daley, who walked through the curtains gracing the stage. The feel of 90s R&B vibe came alive and took over the arena. Throughout his set, Daley showcased his insanely polished vocals and performed all of DVSN’s standout records from their debut album, Sept. 5, as well as covers of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and Aaliyah’s “One In A Million.” It was a pleasing set as Daley’s flawless singing makes DVSN one of the talents to keep a look out for.
Photo Credit: Noisey
After a long break, the epic moment finally arrived when Drake took the stage and of course, the cheers from the crowd got louder. Drake kicked his set off with “Summer Sixteen” setting the right tone as he transitioned into “Still Here,” “Keep The Family Close” and “Feel No Ways,” then quickly getting into his older hits like “Headlines,” “Trophies,” “Worst Behavior,” “Started From The Bottom,” “HYFR” and “0-to-100” followed by a loop of “I should probably sign to Hit Boy cause I got all the hits boy” line (which was perhaps a friendly reminder?). He performed everything from “6 God” to “We Made It” to “Blessings” to “Versace” to “I’m On One.”
As an entertainer, Drake has always known how to cater to his crowd. There is no Drake show complete without him getting in his feelings and singing to his female fans, which he referred to as “getting on my Drake sh*t”. The downtempo songs included “Child’s Play” “Fire and Desire,” and “Come And See Me.” DVSN’s Daley joined 6 God for “Faithful,” before Drake went back performing solo for “The Motto,” Fetty Wap’s summer 2015 banger “My Way” and Drake’s latest DJ Khaled collaborative banger, “For Free.”
Photo Credit: Jake Kivanc
At this point Future joined Drake for “Grammys,” and the crowd absolutely lost their mind. After which Drake exited and Future continued his solo set for the night. Future’s star presence on stage was a knock out. His energetic performance accompanied by his awesomely crafted dance moves and DJ Esco on the mic are a perfect combination that would turn any arena upside down. This time he also brought out four backup dancers who successfully took the show to a whole new level. Future treated the crowd to “New Level” “Blase,” “Bugatti,” “Same Damn Time,” “Commas” and “March Madness.” He was then joined again by Drake for “Big Rings” and “Jumpman.”
After Future’s set was done it was a mystery what would happen next. At this point Rihanna appeared from the bottom of the stage. This was Rihanna’s first time ever being at OVO Fest. She performed her recent songs “Needed Me” and “Bitch Better Have My Money” before Drake joined for their smash hit “Work” and a first time ever performance of “Too Good.”
The big finale included Drake taking the stage again for “Controlla,” “One Dance,” then switching up the vibe with “Pop Style,” “Hype,” “Know Yourself,” “Energy” and “Legend”.
The second night of the concert was followed by a similar structure but this time Drake had even bigger surprise guests. From Popcaan to French Montana (who performed “No Shopping” and “Pop That”), the biggest cameo of the night was undeniably Kanye West, who joined the star studded line up. He was introduced to a standing ovation by an arena going insane at that point of the night.
Above all the excitement, Kanye also made a special announcement: there will be a Kanye and Drake collaboration album coming soon. To which the only Drake line that appropriately fits is “Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah.”
OVO Fest this year criss-crossed with Summer Sixteen, a difficult task that was pulled off successfully. The finale at the Air Canada Centre was an appropriate crowning achievement for an artist at the top of the charts and on top of the game. Keeping his circle tight, Drake is now looking to take on the rest of America.