Save the best for last. It's Music 101, a basic rule that every artist learns early and follows religiously when it comes to live performances.

Not if you're Drake. If you're Drake, one of the world's most-streamed artists, you play by a different set of rules.

The Canadian rapper proved that right from the start of last night's Spark Arena show, his second New Zealand visit that crammed more showy stadium firepower into the first 10 minutes than most artists fit into an entire concert.

Drake performs at his Spark Arena show with a wave of orbs above him. Photo/Chris Schulz
Drake performs at his Spark Arena show with a wave of orbs above him. Photo/Chris Schulz

Sound extreme? It was. Before Aubrey Drake Graham had even arrived on stage, pianos and smoke created a biblical vibe, a feeling exaggerated by fans chanting the star's name and holding cellphones aloft to resemble candles wafting in church.


The second coming continued as Drake lifted through the stage to scenes that can only be described as mass hysteria, quickly ripping through the bass stabs of Free Smoke, the horn chants of Trophies, and his chest-beating anthem Started From the Bottom.

They're among his best songs, and he played them first. That's not all: they were punctuated by plenty of pyro, with lasers scanning the crowd as fireworks exploded across the stage in a nicely timed Guy Fawkes display.

For most artists, that's the climax of the show. For Drake, it's just the start.

Impressive? Let's just say Drake's tour earnings are evident throughout this Boy Meets World tour stop, one which has nabbed the 31-year-old the second-highest earning hip-hop tour honour this year, according to Forbes.

It's a show that has a giant platform winding across Spark's main arena floor lit up by screens, smoke and pyro, hundreds of shapeshifting orbs hanging above him that move in waves and change colours to create different moods, and, for the two-hour show's final third, a giant inflatable ball lit up to look like the sun AND the moon.

Drake performs in front of a glowing orb at his Spark Arena show. Photo/Chris Schulz
Drake performs in front of a glowing orb at his Spark Arena show. Photo/Chris Schulz

It was a dominant display on the musical front too. At one point, Drake played an eight-song medley that used mere snippets of major hits like Worst Behaviour and Blessings.

At another, he played Gucci Mane's Both, the flute loops of Portland, Jumpman and Rihanna's Work one after the other, like a jukebox machine stuck on 'Bangers'.

His show had so much going for it: An amazing beginning, a state-of-the-art stage and lighting show, energy to burn, a fiery crowd, and the raw rap power of Know Yourself and Legend playing up against his smouldering Caribbean-pop favourites Hotline Bling and Controlla.

But Drake, bless him, couldn't help but indulge. He's Drake. He can't help it. So there were a few cheesy bits. Like the "I see you" segment where he singled out about half of Spark's sold out crowd. Or working Jennifer Lopez' If You Had My Love chorus into a painfully chopped and screwed version of Passionfruit.

As good as Hotline Bling is, he couldn't help but open it with a goofy cellphone skit.

And Drake never quite managed to top that thrilling opening. But he didn't need to.

From that point on, this was one 6 God who was preaching to the converted.

* Drake performs at Spark Arena tonight.
Drake: Boy Meets World Tour
When: Spark Arena, Auckland
When: Friday, November 3