The Weeknd Brings Spectacle As It Makes Up For Delayed Toronto Stadium Concert

The Weeknd returned to his hometown in Toronto on Thursday with all the flames and fury of his spectacular live stadium concert.

More than two months after a nationwide outage in the Rogers network ruined the Canadian pop star’s plans to kick off his world tour domestically, he made up for it by bringing the massive show back to town for final stops on the North American stage.

“They’re going to have to pull me off the podium tonight,” he assured the crowd at the Rogers Center.

That turned out not to be entirely true.

Despite expectations that a surprise might be in the works, The Weeknd stuck to the same 29-song setlist that he performed at all stops on the After Hours Til Dawn Tour.

Against a huge set of a post-apocalyptic city, he sang a relentless string of hits, including “Can’t Feel My Face,” “I Feel It Coming,” “Starboy” and “Blinding Lights,” without lingering for a while. encore.

Behind him, a dilapidated row of skyscrapers burst into flames, smoke poured out and at one point appeared to collapse with the illusion of huge digital screens.

A group of dancers, completely veiled in red cloth, walked in a rhythmic procession for much of the show, eventually making their way to a giant moon on the other side of the stadium.

Amid all the buzz, the evening offered the singer, born Abel Tesfaye, the chance to enjoy his success with a local audience for the first time in years.

Tesfaye grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, on the east side of Toronto, and it’s here where he rose from a high-profile Toronto recording artist to a force on the charts. Ultimately, that earned him a coveted spot as entertainment at the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show.

This was his first Toronto concert since his fourth studio album “After Hours” made him one of the top performers in the industry.

And he told the crowd that this homecoming reminded him why he makes music.

“My first show in Toronto—my first show ever—was the Mod Club in 2011,” he recalls of the now-closed concert hall.

“Now we’re doing the SkyDome back-to-back.”

Throughout the night, Tesfaye only referred to the Rogers-owned location as SkyDome.

He never mentioned Rogers’ name, or referred to the outage that forced him to cancel just over an hour before the show’s start in July.

It was one of several setbacks the first leg of the After Hours Til Dawn Tour faced in a summer marked by pandemic uncertainty for live events.

First, opening act Doja Cat dropped out due to almond surgery about a month before the shows were due to begin, while a major fire broke out outside the Las Vegas stadium where his fans were leaving a show in August.

Then, in early September, Tesfaye lost his voice during his Los Angeles concert, forcing him to postpone the performance to an undermined future date.

It seemed that even the Toronto gig ran into trouble when Montreal DJ and opener Kaytranada’s mixing equipment malfunctioned, forcing the notoriously shy performer to entertain the audience for a few minutes of silence.

“(It was) probably too much heat,” he joked before getting back to the music.

Fans didn’t seem to mind and by the time The Weeknd took the stage, everything seemed to be running smoothly.

The Weeknd returns Friday night to play a second show.

His After Hours Til Dawn Tour is then expected to launch further stages passing through Mexico, Europe, Asia and other regions, although no specific timing announcements have been made yet.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 22, 2022.

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