The Weeknd concert in Milan reminds us that he is a real Starboy

Something must happen at 21:00. We are at the La Maura Hippodrome in Milan: on a catwalk winding from the main stage between the two wings of the audience, a group of veiled dancers, dressed entirely in white, move with slow, cutesy steps, as if preparing for a propitiatory rite. There’s something electric that runs through the roughly 80,000 people who didn’t want to miss The Weeknd’s first show in Italy, arriving after several months of delay due to the pandemic and the rescheduling of the tour for a Live Nation-hosted double date. his gigantic After Hour Before Dawn Tour, which carries its two latest albums around the world, able to consecrate it among the tops of the world pop scene. The official partner of the double date in Milan is Lime, a company that provides micromobility solutions, with a simple and immediate exchange of bicycles and electric scooters. Sponsor Binance, the leading blockchain ecosystem and infrastructure provider for cryptocurrencies, by making The Weeknd Tour the first in the world to integrate Web3 technology.

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Weekend – loop name Abel Tesfaye, for some time longer, as he recently confirmed, he enters the stage, wrapped in a white cloak, with a mask on his face. Theatrical, compelling, decadent: all the sometimes unsettling visual world we’ve seen of his last two years has spilled over into his video clips – covered in blood and grinning like the creepy Joker in blinding lightsrude and self-damaging in Save your tears projected before our eyes, and then we can only think: wow, The Weeknd is really here.

All pop star samples on stage

Starboy has grown up: his records are now countless, starting with his hit blinding lights which holds the lead in streaming on Spotify (3.7 billion plays) for various recordings from perfect Mvp on the same platform as the first artist to reach one hundred million listeners in a month. His After Hours til Dawn Tour has already grossed around $350 million, the most for a black artist. The dimension of the rock star that The Weeknd masters, supports, encourages: in communicating with the public, in meeting them before shaking hands, even in selfies separated only by barriers. But it is his performance that leaves you speechless: 34 songs are heard one after another, almost in apnea, in less than two hours.

We saw it during the Superbowl 2021 Halftime Show, a minor key release due to the pandemic: the show had to go on and then The Weeknd took the stage by himself, singing, dancing, moving relentlessly with the dancers, lung capacity, decent – to say the least about American football wide receiver. An energy that also fully invests Milan, amazed at how the artist welcomes her in his songs, such as historical hits such as Can’t feel my face AND die for you up to fruitful collaborations (the line includes works by Kanye, Drake, Future, Metro Boomin), as well as before House of balloonswhich, however, proves that the public knows.

Internal conflicts of The Weeknd / Abel before our eyes

We are in the post-apocalyptic world of The Weeknd, staged as an urban skyline, with a skyline of skyscrapers that appear to have survived the fallout, a giant robot statue of Hajime Sorayama at the center of the podium (a reference to the music video for one of his earliest songs, Echoes of Silence) that moves and glows, a large moon suspended on the last tail of the space in which the artist moves. The play of light, lasers, flames sprayed to the beat of the music, luminous bracelets handed out to the public that change color from song to song: the impression is complete and exciting.

This idea of ​​decadence, which The Weeknd wants to make visible in his set design, is basically the main theme that runs through his latest work: the perversions of modern society, above all his own, reinforced by his celebrity status, occasionally struggling with sex, drugs, feeling of omnipotence. Tedros from Idolwhich we saw on the screens a few weeks ago is The Weeknd of his darkest and most hallucinatory songs, the one that, as in Heartlesssings “Never need a bitch, I’m what a bitch needs.”

We too jump on the emotional rollercoaster of The Weeknd because the artist lifts us up with hits that make the entire audience go crazy, and then moves on to his clearer and at the same time more painful songs. After Party monsterswhere he obsessively sings “Woke up from a girl, I don’t even know her name”, The Weeknd takes off his mask: you can tell that now he is the one and only Abel when he sings Faithand then again Evil gameswhere in a soft light, charging himself with every possible emotion, he repeats over and over again: “So tell me you love me.”

Songs in the composition

As already mentioned, the composition is drum-based: often between one song and another there is no time even to stop and applaud, which The Weeknd has already started with the next piece. The concert opens with three pieces from his latest album. Dawn FM: Take my breath, sacrifice AND How to make you love me? So historical hits like Can’t feel my face Lost in Fire, Hills, Kissing Land, Often, Starboy, interspersed Hurricane Kanye West and Crew love Drake, where The Weeknd performs his song. And then again balloon house, his first hit Heartless, Low life, Reminder, Party monster, Faith, After hours, Out of time, I feel it coming, To die for, Is there anyone else?, I never was, Evil games, Say my name, Morning.

The grand finale must be experienced in one breath: up save your tears the audience is alone, The Weeknd leads them like a conductor, and then Less than zero the turn has come blinding lightsand then an irresistible, unstoppable charge, then to subside with Tears in the rain and resume when the whole audience is yelling, with creeping‘. There is also space for Popularfrom the soundtrack Idoland finally In your eyes AND Moth to flame the hippodrome turned into an open-air discotheque.

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