The Weeknd Live: Buzzworthy and Ready to Conquer


This was originally a submission for the New York Times 8th Review contest, although not winning, should not go to waste!

Reigning as the ruler of modern R&B and pop in the 2020s, The Weeknd is an inexplicable force who has captivated the ears of music fanatics and topped the charts for twelve consecutive years. Recognized by his tracks “Can’t Feel My Face,” “I Feel it Coming,” “Call Out My Name,” and most recently “Blinding Lights,” Abel Tesfaye - The Weeknd - is a first-class depiction of what it means to put all of your heart and soul into your art.

As an artist who just surpassed Ed Sheeran’s title of the most streamed male artist on Spotify, we expected a swarm of fans as colossal as a militia to seize Tesfaye’s eighteen-date stadium tour throughout the North American leg. XO, the fandom, transcended our expectations by leaving a lasting legacy at Gillette Stadium, home of the most distinguished names in the industry.

The staggering experience of the “After Hours ‘til Dawn Tour” set forth a transformative man-made journey that the crowd anxiously awaited while suspenseful music encapsulated the entire stadium. The stage took shape as a deserted city which Abel would soon arise from to open his first song, “Alone Again,” while human figures wearing ethereal, red cloaks stretched across the catwalk section of the stage under a cosmic, blow-up moon, symbolic of the album name, After Hours. The mystifying opening made the audience feel as if they were a part of the music. Jaws dropped. As Abel started heavenly vocalizing with the lines, “Take off my disguise,” everyone in the audience had never been so electrified in their life.

Throughout the two-hour show, The Weeknd played his songs from his preeminent albums, Dawn FM, After Hours, Starboy, and more. Also, he threw it back to his earlier songs “Kiss Land” and “The Morning” from a decade ago. The overall lighting and effects blew any other artist who had performed at Gillette Stadium out of the water. An uproar of scorching flames so immense, it was as if the lower bowl were five feet away from the stage during “The Hills.” The perfect crossovers between songs, for instance, from “Hurricane” to “The Hills” made the fans light up. On top of that, “Less Than Zero” was undoubtedly the fan favorite of the night where a sold-out crowd belted out the lyrics to their favorite song as azure blue lights filled their eyes.

Tesfaye’s sensual, melodious expression of R&B has assembled a horde of melomaniacs who were immersed in the breathtaking, perfectly-coordinated production as if they were religiously renewed. The expertise which Tesfaye has to engage millions of people through sound is truly distinctive which will lead him to go down as one of Generation Z’s greatest artists of all time.