The Weeknd – Live At SoFi Stadium

3 Apr

It’s still kind of crazy to see The Weeknd filling a stadium like SoFi. He’s as big a superstar as anyone in the world right now, but it’s sometimes hard not to see him as the kid with the big hair in the small club. It’s also interesting to see because his music isn’t really stadium rock. He has maybe the greatest voice of any male singer and it’s a delicate instrument. His ability to update his catalog for the less subtle arena atmosphere is an impressive feat.

Every song in this feels different from the recorded version. He makes his music much more muscular and less ethereal and makes it all work anyway. This stadium seats 70,240 people. There are cities with fewer people. I spent a night in Pinhão for my last anniversary. That has a population of 10,486. This is not a small crowd.

He works them all well too. He lets each beat ride for a second with each song just to give the crowd time to get hype and he just lets the audience sing key parts. He’s always talking to the crowd and the album does a good job in mixing in so much of their noise. It’s a far cry from when I saw him around 2014 and he would project images of girls in bondage on the screens around him.

I also appreciate his mixing in old hits. It’s fantastic to see a “Crew Love” appearance. He updates some of them up quite a bit too. There’s a whole new beat for “Wicked Games” and I love it. “Often” also feels completely fresh. His voice is much higher in the original and he shifted the beat to something much more ominous for the live crowd.

You can fell the shift in the arena when he goes for the crowd pleasers though. I never really liked “I Feel It Coming”, the most Michael Jackson of his tracks, but when he performs it for an audience, it fits like a glove. I also didn’t really give “Starboy” its due as an audience track until now and this made it shine in a whole new way.

This is The Weeknd in a whole new aspect for me and he handles it excellently. Of course, he has been a superstar for a long time and that Colbert appearance should have been more than enough to demonstrate his capabilities as such, but sometimes it takes me a while to see. Live At SoFi Stadium makes it more than clear though. The Weeknd really can do it all.

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