ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—It was the hottest night of the year—both literally and figuratively—as arguably the biggest music star on the planet, The Weeknd, took his Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour to the historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ in support of his third studio album, Starboy.
27-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter The Weeknd (born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) has been an international smash hit since 2012, releasing three full-length albums (2013’s Kiss Land, 2015’s Beauty Behind The Madness, and 2016’s Starboy), winning two Grammy Awards (Best Urban Contemporary Album for Beauty Behind The Madness and Best R&B Performance for “Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Gray)”), and boasting a pair of Guinness World Records (Most Streamed Album on Spotify in One Year for Beauty Behind The Madness and Most Consecutive Weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard‘s Hot 100 by a Solo Male Artist). He is perhaps the closest thing we will ever get to Michael Jackson (listen: “I Feel It Coming”).
On May 19, The Weeknd rolled into the aforementioned Boardwalk Hall, which, despite having been built in the 1920s and being a National Historic Landmark, still maintains an absolutely flawless sound. The crowd—consisting of about 60 percent 18- to 30-year-old females, 30 percent young males, and 10 percent over the age of 50—flocked to the roughly 15,000-seat venue to experience a show like no other.
At 9:45 p.m., Tesfaye emerged from a spaceship-looking contraption that was glittered with LEDs. The dark, triangular stage in the back consisted of his drummer, guitarist, and bassist/keyboardist, and a giant catwalk extended more than halfway into the crowd for The Weeknd to do his thing. Rising majestically from the lights and smoke, Tesfaye—sporting a high-top fade, all-black getup and bright white shoes—immediately launched into his universal smash hit, “Starboy.”
“Starboy” kicked off what would be an epic night that made fans seemingly go into a two-hour-long trance and forget all about the scorching heat outside. The darkened arena was lit only by flashing LEDs that focused squarely on the superstar, who essentially looked like a hologram on the catwalk.
The Weeknd’s massive 23-song setlist was designed to perfection. He kicked off the night with fresh new songs that have been dominating radio—”Starboy,” “Party Monster,” “Reminder” and “Six Feet Under”—before playing a few covers from the likes of Drake (“Crew Love”), Future (“Low Life”), and Ty Dolla $ign (“Or Nah”). The show’s three openers—Belly, 6LACK, and Rae Sremmurd—joined The Weeknd as well to play all their respective songs, “Might Not,” “PRBLMS,” and “Black Beatles.”
The Weeknd looked so incredibly smooth and sounded so beautifully clear throughout the entirety of his set, pleasing the boisterous crowd and sending them into a frenzy. His command of the stage is second to none, and the confidence just oozes out of him.
A decade ago, The Weeknd was homeless and shoplifting to support his drug use. He is now one of the world’s best performers and a must-see attraction.
You can catch The Weeknd on phase two of the Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour on Sept. 16 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. For additional dates and more information, go to theweeknd.com.