There was a lot of expectation for The Weeknd in Spain after innumerable delays (which makes the tour serve as a presentation of his last two albums, “Dawn FM” (2022) y “After Hours” (2020)) but we must not forget that, beyond the wait, we are talking about the most listened to artist in the world on Spotify, a guy who has numbers on the US singles charts similar to that of one of his heroes, Prince, and almost at the height of a Beyoncé. It’s normal for the Cívitas Metropolitano to present an almost full image, this guy has been one of those in charge of the Super Bowl show, he’s not just anyone.
In addition, beyond his spectacular success figures (in short, Ed Sheeran also sells millions of records), we are talking about a very talented guy with a spectacular voice who loses absolutely nothing live this Tuesday (a bit ironic, when you call yourself The Weeknd) showed that he is a gifted singer with a very interesting repertoire of songs.
But let’s go back to the beginning, before the concert began, ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and ‘Welcome To The Machine’ played, which made me wonder about their connections with Pink Floyd, which are not so much musical as aesthetic when it comes to present a live show, and the fact is that the setup that Abel Tesfaye has prepared for his concerts is truly spectacular, a pure concrete jungle city, based on the “Metropolis” de Lang, and a long walkway with two other points of interest, a central section with a gigantic sculpture inspired by the work of Hajime Sorayama and a last quadrangle presided over by a huge moon, something normal if we are talking about a man who sings to him normally at night and whose last two albums are titled “After Hours” y “Dawn FM”.
The play of light is also spectacular and everything is balanced with about thirty people who accompany Tesfaye during the concert. More than dancing, what they do is parade around as if they were part of a cult. Everything is simply spectacular and is designed to the millimetre, but it also has a slight problem by dwarfing the figure of the singer, who is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the gigantic show. I guess this is done to counteract the fact that The Weeknd He can sing like his idol, Michael Jackson, but he certainly can’t move like that.
However, despite his little stage presence, in the first hour with an MF Doom type mask (which seemed incredible that he did not take off in the heat it was), The Weeknd He makes up for it with two things, the first is the strength of his voice, with a truly spectacular falsetto, and the second is the strength of a fairly powerful repertoire, although not exempt from some less memorable songs.
The show is measured to the millimeter and there is little room for improvisation, so the repertoire is almost the same for much of the tour. Something normal if we take into account that many times The Weeknd he puts together some songs with others, cutting some, making the concert progress completely smoothly, listening to hit after hit, even if not all of them are equally enduring.
The beginning is for the two most successful songs of “Dawn FM”, “Take My Breath” and “Sacriffice”, a song heavily influenced by Jackson, like that funk nugget that is “Can’t Feel My Face”. In “Take My Breath” it shows that his collaboration with Daft Punk was totally sought after and this song could have appeared on the “Random Access Memories” from the French, with their retro disco sound but with that 21st century touch, the only thing missing is Nile Rodgers on guitar, but here the musicians are much more anonymous, they are swallowed up in the city and you hardly see them, sometimes the guitarist has little moments and, sometimes, a drummer appears, but they are not clearly seen, in one of the last songs there is a sax solo.
After remembering his collaboration with Kanye West, “Hurricane”, the atmosphere heats up with the appearance of “The Hills”, one of his seven number 1s on the Billboard charts. The heating thing is literal, there are flames and jets of fire all over the stage. I, who am in the stands, feel the heat, added to the close to 40 degrees it makes, I don’t know how it is received at the foot of the track. By the way, speaking of the stands, the sound isn’t entirely clean, but it’s better than on other occasions I’ve been to the Metropilitano, I suppose you have to hear it quite well on the track.
“Starboy” and “Heartless” are highly sung, I prefer “House Of Balloons” and its nod to Siouxsie, although it does not interpret its second part. There is a short break after “Faith”, the moment when he takes off his mask, and when he returns he raises the audience with one of the best moments of the concert, the performance followed by “After Hours”, “Out Of Time” and “I Feel It Coming”, the first is one of the best received and the public chants it loudly, the second presents it as their favorite song from “Dawn FM” and one of his favorites of his entire career. The long shadow of Michael Jackson is felt again, the audience makes some beautiful choruses that are very good and Tesfaye’s voice is splendid, “I Feel It coming” sounds as if it were the natural continuation of the previous one.
Then comes the stretch of ballads, followed by “Die for You”, “Is There Someone Else?”, “I Was Never There”, “Wicked Games”, “Call Out My Name” (the most sung) and “The Morning “The best of the lot. Two things emerge, the tracks on “House Of Balloons” remain the darkest and most compelling of his career, and second, his songs sound pretty similar.
Then comes the final banger of the concert, “Save Your Tears”, “Less Than Zero” and “Blinding Lights”, the three best songs of your career in a row? Well something like that, it’s incredible that with more than 20 songs that have entered the Billboard Top 20, none of them is “Less Tah Zero”, the second most effective tune of his career, if we don’t count that synth pop anthem ‘ called “Blinding Lights” and which has a place of honor next to A-Ha’s “Take On Me” or M83’s “Midnight City”. If there were 45,000 people in the Metropolitan, approximately 35,000 mobiles recorded all or part of their performance, something that should be studied.
But it is not the end of the concert, there is still time to present his latest song, in which Madonna collaborates in the studio version, “Popular”, “In Your Eyes” or the “Moth To A Flame” that he did together with Swedish House Mafia. Thirty-four songs in total in just under two hours, a true display of repertoire and vocal power by a guy who is very good at what he does but somewhat limited, staying one step below his clear reference, Michael Jackson, and that eighties sound that he has been able to replicate so well.