The Weeknd’s Starboy: Legend of the Fall 2017 World Tour last rolled through Vancouver on April 25, 2017. I tried to see him, but unfortunately, things didn’t pan out. Thankfully, he was awesome enough to return to Vancity AND I was lucky enough to see him. Turns out, he was totally worth the wait.
As the lights in the stadium dimmed, fans cheered for the appearance of Canadian’s own, the Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye). Music started and bright lights shone from above. Then, to the audience’s delight, the Weeknd rose from below the stage and began the concert with one of his newer singles, “Starboy.”
The Weeknd then made his way through “Party Monster” and “Reminder.” The latter of which he tweaked the lyrics to incorporate Vancouver. Fans cheered enthusiastically, enjoying the shout-out. The Weeknd then took a moment to speak to the audience, commenting on how loud the crowd was and how much he loves Vancouver: “I gotta come to Vancouver every year.”
Tesfaye’s energy level rose with each song, getting the crowd more and more pumped. Throughout the concert, I was surprised by how much energy the Weeknd had. Previously, anytime I’d seen him at award shows or in interviews, he always seemed very quiet and introverted. But on stage, he’s something else entirely. He’s constantly moving: combining spins with footwork and other small dance moves. It was amazing to see such a transformation.
Photos of The Weeknd at Rogers Arena in #Vancouver, BC on October 5th, 2017 by Scott Douglas Hemenway of Scott Douglas Hemenway Photography
The Weeknd then started to blend older singles from his album, Beauty Behind the Madness. As he was transitioning into “Some Way,” the audience received a surprise when the artist of this song, Nav, arose from below the stage, much like the Weeknd had before him. It’s exciting when artists are able to arrange it so the featured artist can perform alongside them. Although in this particular case, it’s actually Tesfaye who is the featured artist for the song.
At this point, the setlist slowed down, but the energy remained high. The Weeknd introduced the next couple of songs as ones from his older albums. He said that although they are older, he still has favourites, including “Angel.” Two of my favourites, “Wicked Games” and “Earned It,” made appearances during this time; the crowd going into a frenzy as he sang them.
Another surprise of the evening happened when the Weeknd performed a cover of French Montana’s “Unforgettable.” French Montana (aka Karim Kharbouch) also rose from below the stage – the crowd roared with appreciation. It was fun seeing the two perform: they were grooving together while they were singing; it was definitely a bromance moment.
The Weeknd finished with “Can’t Feel My Face” and “I Feel It Coming” (no, unfortunately, Daft Punk did not rise from below the stage). As he left, Tesfaye waved and thanked his fans.
The Weeknd returned to the stage almost immediately for his final song of the night: “The Hills.” It was an epic ending, with 17,000 plus fans singing along with him. As the song came to a close, the Weeknd again waved goodbye to the audience, bowing in thanks. The crowd was deafening as he left.
The Weeknd’s performance was incredible. With musical influences such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and R. Kelly, the Weeknd’s sound has evolved into an interesting mix of 80s, R&B, and pop. Especially with his soft, falsetto voice, he’s making some really unique music.
Speaking of his vocals (which, ps, are even better live), I was actually able to hear him. I find that in big venues, the singer’s voice often gets lost. But there was a perfect balance between Tesfaye’s angelic voice and the instrumentals.
The Weeknd’s fame feels a bit like it popped up out of nowhere, but his charisma and presence on stage make it seem like he’s been doing this forever. I hope he is able to make it to Vancouver every year; I definitely would not want to miss another chance of experiencing the Weeknd.