Opening act BANKS was able to perform to an eager early arriving crowd. She is a newcomer to the pop music scene having just released her first EP, Fall Over. It was a strong performance of her dark, dreamy, and almost industrial sounding songs.
As I was down in front of the stage waiting for The Weeknd to start, the crowd in the pit was already completely jammed in as tight as can be. A whole lot of determined young girls were getting smooshed against the barrier, I cannot imagine how bad things got after he actually came out on stage, but I am sure it was pure madness down there by the end of the show.
As the lights dimmed, a sheer curtain hung in the center of the stage that had a projection of a man’s face on it, then lights revealed an actual band, not just a computer DJ set up and ready to play. As the curtain became back lit, The Weeknd appeared and his beautiful voice filled the venue for about 4 seconds and then it was drowned out by the thousands of female fans that responded in a tizzy of high pitched squealing.
I had not heard of this guy before I was asked to review the show. I listened to his music on Spotify and was instantly a fan. So by the time the show arrived, I was one of the squealing girls in the stands along with the rest! The stage setup was so great. A wall of giant screens made up the back drop and surrounded the band. It left The Weeknd up front and the center for the show. The screens were lit up to look like various Asian scenes that were seductively filled with neon signs for hotels and dancing girls.
This guy has an amazing stage presence, his voice is so beautifully clear and the lyrics are dark and sexy. While the music is categorized as R&B, it has an industrial, dark electronic vibe running strongly through it that helps it be more widely appealing. I really enjoyed the band and overall music of the show. After I joined the crowd in the stands, it was a whole different experience. Every person was standing and singing along all the way up to the rafters. I am not familiar enough with his music to recognize any song by just the first few notes, but I couldn’t determine which ones were more popular because the reaction to each one was just as loud.
He did an hour and a half set that included songs like “Wicked Games,” “The Morning,” “Live For,” and my personal favorite “House of Balloons/Glass.” If you have the chance check his music out, his newest release, KissLand, and is available everywhere now. If you pick up an actual CD and bring it to any show on his tour, he will sign it afterwards!
Photos and Article by Reanna Streater