My decision to go see The Weeknd at Toronto’s Sound Academy last night was something of a last minute one. I had only found out about the show days before, and had only bought the tickets hours before (through my cell phone, no less). With such a short period of time to get properly excited, I found myself somewhat worried: The Weeknd is rather mellow; is his show going to be just as sedated as his mixtapes?
The answer, I’m glad to say, was a resounding no.
The show – which was the first of four sold out dates at the Sound Academy – was full of life. The Weeknd (whose given name is Abel Tesfaye) was a ball of energy on stage. He hopped from side to side, softly serenading the audience with the exact level of intimacy that his songs demand.
Elsewhere on the stage, his band infused each track with the intensity they deserve – hard-hitting drums, deep, reverberating bass, insanely speedy guitars. The Weeknd seemed to feed off of the band’s fiery passion, jerking his body to the up-beat of the drums, twirling to the swirl of the guitars, swaying to the throb of the bass. And the sold-out crowd mimicked his excitement, giving way to the throes musical one-ness.
That one-ness was evident in the crowd’s reaction not only to hits like ‘Wicked Games’ and ‘High For This’, but also to somewhat lesser-known (but equally-wonderful) tracks like ‘Montreal’, and ‘Next’.
The Toronto-native seemed glad to be back in his hometown, offering many shootouts to the city he loves, and even offering a special treat: the first ever performance of his new song, ‘Enemy’. ‘Enemy’ was released in late October during his tour’s run in New York City (thankfully, just days before Hurricane Sandy devastated the coast).
The track opens with a gust of sound, before sliding into a tinkering piano and The Weeknd’s heartbreaking vocals – “Can I be honest with you please? / It’s really hard for me to speak right now”.
(You can see a partial, shaky video of ‘High For This’, ‘Wicked Games’, and ‘Next’, and a video of The Weeknd’s first performance of ‘Enemy’ on our YouTube page – right here.)
The Weeknd is set to play another three shows at Sound Academy in Toronto, with limited tickets available at the door. Visit www.the-weeknd.com for how to get tickets and other concert locations.