It’s Abel Tesfaye’s world; the rest of us are just living in it.
And judging from the massive and elaborate set for his current “After Hours Til Dawn” stadium tour, that world is very much of a post-apocalyptic variety … not that anyone appears to mind. That was evident as a boisterous sellout crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of one of the biggest names in pop music today.
By the time The Weeknd took to the stage in a plastic mask and hit the first note of his opening track, “Alone Again,” it was absolute pandemonium in Landover, Maryland. If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s safe to say The Weeknd knows how to capture the attention of his ever-growing audience. Whether he’s performing during halftime of the Super Bowl, boycotting the Grammys or releasing smash hit after smash hit, people seemingly cannot get enough of the Toronto native.
Although COVID-19 concerns delayed the tour for nearly two years and opening act Doja Cat was forced to withdraw due to issues with her tonsils that required a second surgery, none of that mattered on a warm summer night down the road from our nation’s capital. For nearly two hours, The Weeknd delivered a highly-energetic and captivating set that spanned his entire catalog, including “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Starboy,” “The Hills,” “Blinding Lights” and so much more.
Since his last tour, The Weeknd has shifted from arenas to stadiums. In such a massive venue, a lesser artist runs the risk of alienating concert goers who might feel acres away from the stage. But the sheer size of it all — the set, the stage, the catwalk that ran the entire length of the football field, the army of dancers who appeared to be on loan from The Handmaid’s Tale — made it virtually impossible to not feel immersed in the pure spectacle of it all.