WANTAGH, New York — Drake hit the stage at the Nikon Theater in Jones Beach on Saturday night for his first public appearance since the now-infamous club brawl with Chris Brown, and except for a passing reference to the incident, the show went on with extra fuel from special guests like the Weeknd and Dipset.
After opening sets from French Montana, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, Waka Flocka Flame and J. Cole, Drake kicked things off with his Take Care tracks "Lord Knows" and "Underground Kings." He formally introduced his crowd to the "greatest club in the world," and assured them that no afterparty could measure up to what he had in store for the night, since he'd brought out "every single n---a that you wanna hear."
Cue "Crew Love" and an appearance from Drizzy's Toronto pal the Weeknd, who momentarily sent the crowd into a frenzy, as the first in a chain of surprise guests. In addition to summoning Waka, Meek, 2 Chainz and French Montana back to the stage for features, Drake also brought out his Cash Money labelmate Busta Rhymes to perform the throwback "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See," while A$AP Rocky and his mob dropped in as well.
It wasn't until Drake performed his soul-baring single "Marvin's Room" that he finally made a blatant reference to the controversy surrounding the Chris Brown incident. He told the audience that he was in a great mood, despite the last few nights being difficult. Once he got that off his chest, he continued the show with an appearance from Jamaican dancehall star Mavado, who performed his own single "I'm So Special."
Despite earlier rumors that Drake might be arrested before the end of the night, the YMCMB rapper was calm and cool, focused only on delivering a night to remember. He saved his biggest stunt for the final minutes of the show, bringing Jim Jones onstage to perform his hit "We Fly High," followed by Juelz Santana with "Dipset (Santana's Town)" and finally, Cam'ron. If having A$AP's crew on the bill wasn't enough shine for Harlem, Drake managed to get all three members of Dipset on stage with him for a memorable moment as they performed "Salute."
While details are still being revealed about the club altercation Wednesday night, Drake did his best to brush off the drama and stay focused on the music. This weekend, MTV News caught up with Cash Money CEO Birdman in Atlanta, where he threw his full support behind Drake. "To me, Drizzy ain't did nothin' wrong, he ain't done nothin' wrong to nobody," Birdman said. "He just doin' great music. He's not a reckless guy out there just wildin' out; he's a humble kid makin' great music."