When Abel Tesfaye released his debut album in 2011 balloon house As a free download (with The Weeknd as a shadowy sender of artsy electro-R&B) it was hard to guess that twelve years later he would belong to pop music’s top echelon and has the most albums ever to his credit. will be a more streamed hit (blind light has been streamed 3.6 billion times on Spotify alone since 2019).
There he is, the Canadian of Ethiopian descent, at the Johan Cruijff Arena, one of the most impressive concert sets in Amsterdam stadium history. A skyline has emerged on stage, a cross-fertilization of New York and Toronto. Center stage: A ‘sexy robot’ with feminine curves, designed by Japanese Hajime Sorayama. To the south: a giant moon, hanging from the roof construction. A catwalk ran the entire length of the field, covering The Weeknd for two hours, followed by thirty veiled women dressed in white.
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meno pot a music journalist since 1998 de volkskrant, He writes reviews, interviews and long stories about pop music.
Striking: More than half the stadium has no video screens, as The Weeknd still wants to be invisible, a small figure in the distance in a sand-colored suit, a silver mask covering his face and his vocals Distorts the sound.
Superstar like a puzzle. There’s no headliner like Harry Styles or Beyoncé in The Weeknd. The show is stolen here by the show itself, with promenades of towering pillars of light, pillars of fire that you feel burning down your cheeks and setting the skyline on fire. A light choreography in a stand of thousands of bracelets synchronized via Bluetooth connection.
Jost probably knows what that means, but it’s brilliant. Musically too, The Weeknd pulls off something unusual: hardly any interaction with the audience, but 36 songs, a domino course of hits, Dawn FM in the beginning, starboy And save your tears on the way, until blind light And popular in the final. The volume is loud, but if you wear good earplugs, you’ll hear everything very clearly.
The musicians on stage are hidden in the buildings, but they are there for decoration. The fact that it still sounds alive is a merit of The Weeknd himself: he sings excellently, medium to high, cleanly and with great timing, sometimes hard, then with vibrato and subtlety, especially when masked. descends and the effects disappear ( it was preferably a little earlier).
Two hours pass, during which The Weeknd is in discussion these days due to his drama series Sculpture She is considered lewd and misogynistic, her decorations being used as a riddle: Where is Abel? Four songs from 2011’s obscure debut album Passed. They explain how The Weeknd has shot into the pop stratosphere.
Abel Tesfaye wants to get rid of his pseudonym and continue working under his own name. As The Weeknd, in the same summer as Beyoncé, he took stadium concerts to a whole new dimension.
23/6 Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam.