Concert Review: Wicked Games With The Weeknd

Photo Credit: Raymond Ahner

SAN JOSE (KRON) — Abel, better known as The Weeknd, has come a long way since 2011’s musically acclaimed mixtapes. He has gone from offering the download of his music for free and being the opener to other artists, to selling out arenas across the United States.

The talented young artist is seeing all of his grassroots efforts pay off in the form of mainstream success which has led to seven Grammy nominations, including one for Record Of The Year “Can’t Feel My Face.”

And now, The Weeknd has become a must see concert for music fans, and the Bay Area is no exception.

Sunday night’s concert at SAP Center was certainly one to remember, there were massive lines all around the venue. The buzz from people anxious to get in was a collective chatter of anticipation, and the talk of which songs would be included in the set list.

The show started promptly shortly before 7:30, with Travi$ Scott as the first opener.  The Houston native brought the young crowd to their feet, and while his set was rather short. He set the tone for what the rest of the night was going to be like.

Halsey followed up Scott’s opening act with a set from her debut album Badlands, which has catapulted her name and music to just about everywhere. Halsey, who had a show at The Fillmore just last month, is currently on tour with The Weeknd and will return to the Bay Area this Friday for the annual Live 105’s Not So Silent Night.

The two supporting acts for this tour were a bizarre combo. While a lot of Travi$ Scott’s fans are most certainly fans of The Weeknd, the choice to bring Halsey was rather odd, but not out of the ordinary. The last time that The Weeknd had a show in the Bay Area was at Bill Graham with openers R&B artist Jhene Aiko and rapper ScHoolboy Q.

The Weeknd did not let his XO fandom wait for too long, and brought the crowd to its feet when he entered the stage to the sounds of “Real Life.” 

His silhouette could be seen from behind a black enclosure. He didn’t need an elaborate wardrobe, as his black jeans & black jacket combo along and the mic were sufficient. For a brief second, the screams sounded louder than his voice, and his expression showed excitement to be in San Jose for the first time.

Two memorable moments of the night were when he performed the song “Angel” from the new album Beauty Behind The Madness (a song that has a similar sound and lyrics to his early releases.) And, the encore when he delighted the crowd with “Wicked Games” which truly is one of his best songs (if not the best.)

The stage production was impressive for an artist who certainly doesn’t need it with vocals like the ones he does (he’s often compared to Michael Jackson). A live band accompanied him on this musical endeavor but had to compete against the screams of thousands of fans echoing throughout the SAP Center.

The Madness Tour continues in LA, Atlanta, and is scheduled to wrap up in Miami on December 19th.

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