As the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey started filling up on Tuesday night (June 12) and the rain began to fall, one thing was inevitable: this Club Paradise stop was going to have to be one of the tour’s finest to make up for the wet, cold, and muddy fans suffering outside of the amphitheater’s shelter.
The second-leg of Drake’s super-successful Club Paradise tour currently features 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, French Montana, Waka Flocka, and J. Cole, and with a lineup such as that, every member of the sold-out crowd knew that they’d be in for a special night of seeing their favorite artists performing some of their most well-known and hottest records for four hours straight.
Regardless of attendees still finding their seats when 2 Chainz hit the stage promptly at 7 pm, the night’s first performer held nothing back energy-wise and delivered a short-set full of his current hits like “Riot,” “Spend It,” “Got One”, and his verse from G.O.O.D. Music’s current smash, “Mercy.”
Shortly after 2 Chainz’s set, MMG’s Meek Mill touched down and ran through records like “House Party,” “Burn”, and “Ima Boss. With the energy already at a high, leave it to Waka Flocka, who was backed by a live band and some interesting set design, to turn up the show’s dial to 11 as he blazed through hits like ”Oh Let’s Do It,” “No Hands,” which featured a live drum remix during Wale’s verse, ”I Don’t Really Care”, and “Hard In the Paint” – the latter two of which he performed as he was making his way through a crowd of ravenous fans.
At one point, after he returned from his adventure in the crowd, Waka did a record that was fittingly appropriate for the Jersey Shore locale, his new record from Triple F Life, “Fist Pump.” Waka, who released his sophomore album on the day of the show, closed out his set with: ”If you ain’t my friends, fans, or family, then f*ck you!” He later exclaimed, “Thank you, and I love you all to death!”
J. Cole, backed by a live band that included two keyboards, one drummer, one DJ, and a bassist, was up next. The North Carolina MC showed the crowd of thousands how a real artist evolves and matures, not just in his music but in his stage show, which was flawless.
Cole got his charismatic set started with a verse from “Dollar and a Dream”, and then went right into the up-tempo tracks “Who Dat” and “Blow Up.”
He continued his set with his currently in rotation “Nobody’s Perfect” followed by “Work Out” and his verse from Beyonce’s “Party.” ”In the Morning”, sans Drake, was next followed by the MC’s biggest record to date, “Can’t Get Enough”, which he used to close out his set.
The crowd had gone nuts for almost three hours at this point, and the man behind the entire tour, Drake, had yet to even take the stage. And then it happened. With ”Lord Knows” blaring through the speakers, Drake greeted the crowd and stormed through records like “I’m On One” and “Headlines”, before taking a short break to honor one of his recently deceased friends with a poured out bottle of Hennessy and “Crew Love” bumping in the background.
The highly-energetic and infectious set continued with “records like She Will” and “Up All Night”, before 2 Chainz came out to perform his current single, “No Lie”, followed by Waka Flocka who hit the stage for “Round of Applause” alongside Drake. After a Rihanna-less “Take Care,” Drake brought out Mavado to accompany him on a few songs and then perform a few of his own Reggae hits.
Meek Mill then returned to perform “Amen” off his recent mixtape Dreamchasers 2 with Drake, followed by an encore performance of “Ima Boss”. Shortly after, French Montana hit the stage and performed a brief set that included “Choppa Down”, “Everything’s A Go”, and “Stay Schemin”.
Drake followed up his guests tracks with his own “Miss Me” and “Make Me Proud”, before going into a short intermission that saw the Toronto native and YMCMB general shouting out individual fans in the audience. “HYFR” and “The Motto” were next, and just as the clock hit 11 pm, Drake fittingly closed his headlining set with the first single from his debut album Thank Me Later, “Over”.
Check out some pictures from the NJ stop of the Club Paradise Tour below:
For tickets to the remaining Club Paradise Tour dates visit Ticketmaster.com.